Fishermen in Scotland have abandoned UK waters and headed to Denmark to land their fish in order to bypass new Brexit rules.
According to reports in Danish newspaper Altinget the fishing auction in Hanstholm has reported unusually high interest from Scottish boats after the British withdrew from the EU’s internal market and customs cooperation on 1 January.
“We are in dialogue with 10-15 new boats, because their market has suddenly become completely different from what they knew before 1 January,” says auctioneer Jesper Kongsted.
“Many of them are some ships with a cargo of 50 tons.”
Brexit fishing disaster
Jesper Kongsted estimates that 30-40 percent of the 1300 tonnes of fish sold at the fishing auction in Hanstholm this year come from Scottish fishermen.
Yesterday in parliament SNP Commons leader Tommy Sheppard described reports of Scottish fish being left to rot due to bureaucracy as the “Brexit fishing disaster”, demanding that the fishing industry is compensated for the loss in trade.
He said: “Boats confined to harbour, lorry loads of seafood destroyed, the industry losing £1 million a day as firms go bust – all as a result of Brexit red tape imposed by this Government.
“Yet when asked about this yesterday, the Prime Minister refused to answer.”
Happier because they’re British
The comments came after Jacob Rees-Mogg claimed that fish captured after Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal came into effect are “happier” because they are “British”.
The Commons Leader, responding to SNP concerns, told MPs: “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.”
Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle intervened and noted: “Obviously there’s no overwhelming evidence for that.”
Yesterday it was also revealed that fisheries minister Victoria Prentis did not read the post-Brexit trade deal with Brussels when it was agreed because she was too busy organising the local nativity trail.
Appearing in front of the Lords EU environment subcommittee as the UK fishing industry is plunged into disarray Prentis admitted to letting festive cheer get in the way of her scrutinising the deal on Christmas Eve.
Asked if her jaw had dropped when she saw the deal with the EU she said: “No, the agreement came when we were all very busy on Christmas Eve, in my case organising the local nativity trail.
“We had been waiting and waiting, it looked like it was coming for probably four days before it actually arrived.
“I, for one, had gone through, as I’m sure members of this committee had, a gamut of emotions over those four days.”