The Scottish Seafood Association provides a number of services to support the Scottish Seafood industry, including training, advice, research, and funding support. One of the biggest support services we provide is lobbying on our members’ behalf to government on industry issues. We act as a collective voice for our members and are here to support you and your business by speaking to the government on your behalf.
What is lobbying?
Lobbying is seeking to influence a legislator on a particular issue in a professional capacity and it is performed outside of the legislative chamber.
Recent lobbying activity by SSA
Brexit and supply chain issues at the start of 2021 called for urgent action to protect and support SSA members and the seafood processing industry as a whole. Our CEO Jimmy Buchan contacted George Eustice (Environment Secretary), Victoria Prentis (Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State for Farming, Fisheries and Food) and Michael Gove (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster & Minister for the Cabinet Office) to bring to their attention that urgent action was required to address the serious issues arising from Brexit and the subsequent export issues.
Along with other organisations, this lobbying played a vital role in setting up an urgent Scottish Seafood Exports Taskforce (SSET).
The SSET formally meets fortnightly, the Scottish Seafood Exports Taskforce operates sub-groups and uses officials to keep up consideration of the sector’s issues and works in conjunction with ongoing industry consultation undertaken on a UK-wide basis by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). It is attended by both the UK Government and Scottish Government, as well as a wide range of representatives from the Scottish catching, processing, and aquaculture sectors. SSA CEO, Jimmy Buchan, is an active member of this group, along with Amber Knight (MacNeil Shellfish and SSA Vice Chair) who chaired an expert sub-group and produced a list of actions to be taken forward surrounding Border Control Points (BCPs), including looking at the viability of a BCP coordination group. Andrew Brown (Macduff Shellfish and Board Member) also shares information to the Taskforce.
Central to its concerns have been Export Health Certificates, Customs, Catch Certificates and EU Border Control Posts, Paperwork, and a lack of digitisation have regularly been raised as problems by the industry and have been highlighted as a priority for the taskforce.
Success with EHCO System changes
On 29 March 2021, a number of changes to the EHCO system came into force, following recommendations by the expert-led subgroups. These changes have simplified the process and have seen a reduction in certificate issue times.
The taskforce is continuing to work with partners across the fishing industry and government to identify pinch points and simplify processes where possible.
We await further updates from the SSET.
As a representative of the Scottish seafood industry, we need your help to bring matters to the attention of the government. Please get in touch with us and join us in supporting the industry.