Hold-ups caused by no-deal Brexit red tape could send Scottish fishermen “to the wall”, one industry boss has warned.

Speaking during an evidence session of Holyrood’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation national co-ordinator Alistair Sinclair highlighted the dangers of excessive export certification on the Scottish sector.

In the event of a no-deal, exports will need five separate certificates before they are able to leave the country, according to Scottish Seafood Association chief executive Jimmy Buchan, with Mr Sinclair saying those in the live market would need further certification to transport their catches.

Mr Sinclair also said the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) “don’t know” what will happen with exports post-Brexit.

He also claimed the further paperwork – from environmental health and veterinary officers – is unlikely to be delivered on time due to a lack of resources.

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He said: “As we’re aware, in respect to the live product, where time is crucial of course, we’re going to need catch, health, customs, invoices, tariff invoices, all dealing with the individual load from each boat.

“We’re talking about five documents.

“In speaking with processors, I have been assured that Defra don’t know what’s going on just yet, I got that information this morning, and as far as employment is concerned, environmental health and veterinary people do not have the resource to give us the paperwork we need for the live product – and we could be looking at a two-day hold-up to get that paperwork.

“Dealing in the live market, there’s many people who will go to the wall.”

Despite Mr Sinclair’s concerns, Elspeth Macdonald, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said Brexit would create a number of “opportunities” for the sector in Scotland.

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She said: “The federation has made very clear since the referendum that it does see some great opportunities for the sector when it is not in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

“There is the potential to as much as double the raw material that the industry is ready to catch and therefore make available to the processing sector.

“It’s clear that all parts of the chain should benefit from that in the future.

“We do, of course, fully recognise the challenges that a no-deal exit would represent for the processing sector and we are working hard with them to address these.”