Compensation for fishing industry is a 'drop in the ocean' says councillor

Scottish Borders Council is to write to the UK Government seeking additional compensation for local fishing businesses.

Friday, 29th January 2021, 12:16 pm
Councillor Mark Rowley.

Berwickshire SNP councillor Helen Laing secured that commitment from the Tory-led administration, after pointing out that the £23m compensation scheme for the loss of market due to Brexit red tape was a “drop in the ocean”.

At Thursday’s full meeting of the council, she said: “The scheme is capped at £100,000 per business, an amount currently being lost by one of our local fishing businesses every day. This is a completely inadequate response.”

In response, Councilor Mark Rowley, executive member for economic regeneration and finance, referred to an open letter issued by the fish merchants of Boulogne, expressing their view that it was unfortunate that more time had not been allowed to enable historic trading links to be protected.

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However, he refused to revise the response he gave in November on the issue, when he said he “did not see that there would be any reduction in demand or a significant risk to this important industry, as processes are in place.”

But he said: "I stand by my comments made in November. I absolutely stand on the comments made on demand, as the quality of our shellfish is world-reknowned … that hasn’t changed."

He added: "We have to acknowledge that there are issues in exporting shellfish at the moment, there’s no point in avoiding that. I understand these issues are being worked on.

"I am happy to write to ministers to make the case for more compensation for our fishing businesses in Eyemouth.”