July 14, 2018
Brexit could substantially harm Scottish seafood sector
The Scottish government cites a new research suggesting that Brexit could cause significant harm to Scotland's seafood industries, including decreased salmon export value, if the UK does not remain in the single market and the customs union.
The study, commissioned by the Scottish government to understand possible impacts on the seafood sector, examined hypothetical scenarios for the UK's exit from the European Union including changes to fishing quota shares and the impact of different types of international trade on the industry.
Among others, the research found that farmed salmon - the UK's most valuable food export - could decrease in export value of between 4 to 6% in the absence of free trade with the EU.
Also, any increase in fishing quotas would be offset by increasing tariff and non-tariff measures once the UK leaves the European single market and customs union.
The research said all of the plausible trade scenarios modelled would leave Scotland - which is one of the largest seafood producers in Europe - worse off than the current situation as a member of the EU. Remaining in the single market and the customs union, thus, is the least worst outcome for the sector, it added.
The plausible scenarios include three of the scenarios wherein the UK ends free trade with the EU, and some level of tariffs and non-tariff measures apply on products exported to the EU. They exclude the scenario with free trade with all countries of the world.
"This report confirms that reduced access to EU markets could significantly harm Scotland's seafood industries, with those parts of our sector reliant on the speedy supply of fresh product to European markets particularly at risk", said Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.
In 2017 Scotland exported GBP944 million (US$1.25 billion) worth of seafood, up 23% from the previous year.