ELIZABETH TRUSS, the Environment Secretary has pledged her full support for Scotland’s world-class fishing industry in response to Russia’s unjustified food export ban.
The UK government, alongside industry, the Scottish government and the European Commission (EC), is working to open up lucrative new fish markets to help businesses increase their international trade.
Last week’s ban is expected to have the most effect on Scotland’s mackerel trade with around £16 million worth exported to Russia each year.
Elizabeth Truss said: "This ban is totally unjustified and I share the concerns of Scotland’s fishing industry about the possible impact on their business. I want Scotland’s fishermen to be assured the UK government stands ready to support them throughout these sanctions. We will continue to use our clout to lobby hard in Brussels on behalf of Scotland’s world-class fishing industry."
As part of the UK government’s approach Defra will:
- work hard to open up new markets and increase access to existing markets for high quality British mackerel, especially in the Far East and West Africa;
- work with the fishing industry to manage supplies of mackerel this coming fishing season (October to March) to help keep prices stable;
- look with the Scottish government at what support can be provided to meet the cost to fishermen of storing frozen mackerel while alternative markets are sought; and
- call on the EC to consider the merits of any potential World Trade Organisation case to ensure the rules of international trade are upheld.
The food ban represents 0.2 per cent of the UK’s £18.9 billion food exports. Products covered by the sanctions include poultry, pork, fish, dairy and vegetables. While we do not anticipate a significant overall impact to business, Scotland’s mackerel industry is expected to be the most affected. We will continue to work closely with trade associations and the wider food industry to help them monitor the impact of this ban.