The SNP has warned the UK government against imposing a devastating No-Deal Brexit on Scotland’s vital fisheries sector, after high level talks between Boris Johnson and the EU Commission President were confirmed for Monday after months of stalled negotiations.
It comes as a think tank added its voice to growing unease over the future of fisheries in talks, stating that “failure to agree on this issue might derail the whole negotiation.”
Dave Doogan MP echoed concerns around ending the post-Brexit transition period without a deal – stating that such an outcome “could not only introduce tariff barriers on the very substantial element of the UK catch which is exported, but also non-tariff barriers which will introduce delay and cost into the supply chain.”
The chief executive of the Scottish Seafood Association has also said that securing a deal was the “number one priority”, and that a No-Deal exit “will hurt” the fisheries industry.
Dave Doogan, the SNP’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs spokesperson, said:
“Scotland’s fishing sector is facing a No-deal disaster which is putting ideology ahead of jobs and livelihoods.
“We are in the midst of a global health pandemic, and crashing out at the end of this year without taking the transition extension on offer would be utterly catastrophic for Scotland’s food and drink sector.
“The Tories would never be forgiven for it, and it would be the ultimate betrayal of our fishing sector – selling them out on the way out of the EU, just as they were on the way in when the Tories infamously described the industry as ‘expendable’.
“Scottish Government analysis found that the UK’s refusal to extend the transition period could take around £3 billion from the Scottish economy in just two years – on top of the already devastating impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
“With the Prime Minister and EU Commission President set for high level talks this Monday due to the faltering talks and lack of progress, it is critical that Boris Johnson categorically rules out imposing a devastating No-deal exit on Scotland’s economy and our vital fisheries and agri sector.”