Some disgruntled Scottish fishermen are sailing two days to Denmark for their catch in the aftermath of Brexit and Jacob Rees-Mogg’s claim that “we’ve got our fish back”.
Exports of fresh fish and seafood have been hit by delays following the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December.
Industry group Scotland Food and Drink has said the delays are costing the country’s fishing industry £1m a day, due to fish no longer being fresh by the time it would reach European markets.
That has prompted some Scottish fishermen to make the 48-hour journey to Denmark for their catch.
“They’re now British fish - and they’re better and happier fish for it.”
Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, claims fish are “better and happier” in British waters after Brexit, following complaints from the SNP about a “Brexit fishing disaster”. pic.twitter.com/hZqtCx0gka
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) January 14, 2021
Bloomberg reported a Scottish boat with 15 tons of monkfish was expected to land about £27,000 more on Thursday than it would have done at home.
Jesper Kongsted, a fish auctioneer in Hanstholm, told Bloomberg of the deal: “Boris Johnson probably forgot to explain what leaving the EU would mean for fishermen’s ability to sell to the European market.”
However, he added he expects the number of Scottish trawlers to fall once solutions to the exporting delays are found in the UK.
Fishing was one of the key sticking points of the UK’s post-Brexit trade talks with the EU.
Watch: What’s in the Brexit deal and what will change?
An agreement was eventually announced on Christmas Eve, and included UK boats getting a greater share of fish in UK waters. Both sides can apply for licences to fish in the other’s waters.
The issue of Scottish fishermen travelling to Denmark was also raised in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.
SNP rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Fishing vessels are landing their catch in Denmark now to avoid the bureaucratic system.
“Prices have collapsed for the caught fish sector by 50% or more, trade deals have been lost and customers gone elsewhere.
“This is a truly dreadful situation.”
House of Commons leader Rees-Mogg said the government is “tackling” the exporting issues.
He said on Thursday: “What is happening is that the government is tackling this issue, dealing with it as quickly as possible, and the key thing is we’ve got our fish back.
“They’re now British fish and they’re better and happier fish for it.”