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26 August 2016

Brexit Threat to Vital Seafood Sector Says Local MSP

Sector Supports Hundreds of Jobs in Buchan

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson says the scale of European trade and investment shows that Brexit threatens the future of the vital seafood sector, which continues to be of significant importance in areas like Buchan.

Seafood accounts for over 60% of Scotland’s food exports to the EU – with EU membership benefiting the industry to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds in trade and investment.

With two of the country’s biggest fishing ports and a significant amount of seafood processing taking place locally, supporting hundreds of local jobs, Mr Stevenson says answers from the Tory Government and others who campaigned for Brexit on how the industry will be supported are still nowhere to be seen.

Figures revealed by the Scottish Government in response to a series of Parliamentary Questions show that Scotland exported £438m of fish and seafood to EU countries in 2015, while £77m of EU investment has created or safeguarded 2000 jobs in the industry since 2007.

Scotland should receive €107m from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, 46% of the UK allocation, by 2023 – investment that is jeopardised by Brexit.

Commenting Stewart Stevenson said:

“Fishing areas like Buchan support hundreds of jobs from catching fish through to processing, as well as all the support businesses that operate around harbours and food processors.

“Seafood is a prime example of the benefits of trading without barriers across Europe – and is by far our largest food export.

“Without tariff-free access to trade with the EU, rural Scotland would risk losing vital trade that sustains hundreds of jobs in Buchan and thousands across Scotland. In addition there is tens of millions of EU investment that supports our seafood and agricultural industries.

“Over two months on from the referendum, the Tories and other Brexit campaigners are no closer to answering any of the central questions about what Brexit will look like – which is why it is absolutely right that the Scottish Government remains determined to stop Scotland being dragged out of Europe against our will.”
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