The UK has set out a package of financial support for seafood exporters, which have complained of a slump in sales in the wake of the country’s trade deal with the EU.
Funding of up to GBP23m (US$31.6m) will be directed to exporters “who can evidence a genuine loss in exporting fish and shellfish to the EU”, the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.
Money is available immediately and will be “paid retrospectively to cover losses incurred since 1 January”, Defra added.
Some UK seafood exporters have faced delays to shipments to the EU in the early weeks of the year. Last week, EU imports of seafood from some Scottish companies were temporarily suspended after they were impacted by post-Brexit delays. Deliveries were halted by the industry’s biggest logistics provider, Denmark’s DFDS, due to a backlog caused by additional bureaucracy at border points.
There has been confusion surrounding the introduction of additional health certificates and customs papers, as well as issues relating to IT systems, following the UK’s departure from the EU on 1 January.
Defra said the newly-released funds would be “targeted at small and medium enterprises”, with the maximum claim available to individual operators set at GBP100,000. The Government plans to release more details on eligibility criteria “in the coming days”.
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UK Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “This GBP23m scheme will provide crucial support for fishermen and seafood exporters, who have experienced delays and a lack of demand for fish from the restaurant industry in the UK and Europe.”