THE UK Government has “got a grip” on the migrant crisis at Calais, Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, has insisted, as leading members of Scotland’s seafood industry warned that the crisis was beginning to seriously affect their businesses

The sector is facing losses running into tens of thousands of pounds and fears that the long-term future of the industry could be put at risk.

Mr Hammond’s assertion came as calls were made for David Cameron to cut short his summer holiday and take personal charge.

Following a meeting of Whitehall’s emergency Cobra committee, Mr Hammond, who chaired it, announced 100 additional guards would be on duty at the terminal in Calais while UK Border Force officials would start working inside the Eurotunnel control room. These measures come in addition to the extra fencing and sniffer dogs announced by the Prime Minister last week.

“We have got a grip on the crisis,” declared the Foreign Secretary. “We saw a peak last week, since when the number of illegal migrants has tailed off.

"We have taken a number of measures in collaboration with the French authorities and Eurotunnel, which are already having an effect and over the next day or two I would expect to have an even greater effect," he explained.

But the Road Haulage Association (RHA) urged Mr Cameron, who is taking the first of what is expected to be a three-part summer holiday in the UK, to visit Calais and see for himself what lorry drivers were experiencing.

"Without witnessing the mayhem at Calais first hand, neither the Prime Minister nor his advisers can fully grasp the severity of the situation,” insisted Richard Burnett, the RHA’s Chief Executive.

"I have, therefore, issued an invitation to David Cameron to travel with him across the Channel to see for himself the appalling conditions that drivers are facing,” he added.

The crisis is said to have cost the UK economy millions of pounds as hauliers are forced to dispose of contaminated goods and wait in lengthy queues on the M20 in Kent.

James Cook, who runs D R Collin, a major seafood exporter at Eyemouth on the east coast of Scotland, said his business had been severely disrupted with losses of £100,000 by the end of last week.

“We work to very, very tight deadlines...We have missed connections and lost time. Sometimes, our produce is turning up 24 hours later than it should be because of the consistent problems with migrants and strikers in the Tunnel. This is the fifth week with this loss and it can’t continue.”

Asked about the UK Government’s actions, Mr Cook, whose company came out in favour of independence during last year’s referendum campaign, said: “We are rather surprised at the lack of support from Westminster; some of their policies are laughable.”

He claimed the biggest problem was the draining of confidence within the seafood industry. “We know now our product is not making the end-user. It’s a global market for a lot of this product. We are worried we will be replaced by products from other parts of the world,” added Mr Cook.

Meantime, Robert Williamson of QA Fish, based at Scalloway on Shetland, said the traffic congestion was resulting in regular delays of 24 hours for its lorries.

“We have customers in Italy, Spain and Switzerland, and just by the fact that we can’t guarantee the delivery is going to be on time, they’ve stopped buying at the moment,” he explained.

Tavish Scott, the MSP for Shetland, said he would be writing to the Scottish Government pressing for “concerted action” to help the local seafood industry and hauliers.

“This cross-channel crisis has turned the south of England into a gigantic lorry park. The Government needs to make sure products that have a limited shelf-life get to the front of the queue,” he added.