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Fishing boat owners are being urged to register their vessels as food businesses, and have them inspected by Argyll and Bute Council, before December 31 so they can continue to export to the EU post Brexit.
If vessel owners fail to meet this requirement, they will not be permitted to export their catch, either directly or indirectly, to the EU from January 1 2021.
This is becoming urgent because of the 200 fishing vessels in Argyll and Bute, less than half have registered as food businesses to date.
Once registered as a food business, Environmental Health officers will make arrangement to have vessels inspected.
Following the inspection, vessels will be issued with an Export Health Certificate. This certificate confirms that the export meets the health requirements of the designated country.
In addition, fish processors and factories will require their suppliers to comply with EU legislation.
Food Standards Scotland has already issued a letter to all fishing vessel owners in Scotland highlighting the required action.
Councillor David Kinniburgh, policy lead for planning services, said: ‘Argyll and Bute is famed for the quality of its sea food. It is one of its leading exports and plays an import role in our economy. It is absolutely vital that our fishing fleet prepares for the changes we face as we leave the EU.
‘Our Environmental Health officers are working with Food Standards Scotland, industry experts and the Scottish Government to support our local fishermen through this transition. Please contact them as soon as possible. The process is free and it will enable you to continue to access European markets.’
For more information, and to register for inspection, email email@example.com typing ‘Fishing Vessels Inspection’ into the subject line.