NICOLA Sturgeon has accused Boris Johnson’s government of “shameful and disgraceful” behaviour after Scottish seafood suppliers have faced border chaos following the end of the Brexit transition period.

Companies trying to export fish and other Scottish seafood have faced red tape since the new trading rules with the EU came into force at the start of this month – forcing stock to be thrown away.

Industry body Scotland Food and Drink said “emergency financial aid” may be needed after lorries were held up at distribution hubs and exporters struggled to get goods to market in France.

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The First Minister was asked by fellow SNP MSP, Emma Harper, about the situation and whether the UK Government was offering enough support to businesses impacted.

Responding at First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon said: “The catastrophe that our seafood exporters are facing right now is absolutely shameful and disgraceful.

“But for the crisis of Covid that we’re living through right now, I am sure this would be dominating the headlines every single day.

“The issues that are being experienced are a direct result of the UK Government’s rush to a very substandard finishing line which left exporters less than a week to understand, never mind implement, the implications of the newly-agreed relationship with the EU."

She said the UK Government had failed to give exporters enough time to understand the implications of the new rules.

The First Minister added: “The Scottish Government and Scottish food and drink stakeholders repeatedly warned that businesses needed more time to effectively prepare for these changes but the UK Government point-blank refused to listen to a request for a six-month grace period.

“We’re pressing the UK Government to fix this mess - it’s a mess entirely of their making.

“So far there is no sense of urgency or any suggestion at all that they are prepared to do that.”

She said Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing supports calls for businesses to be compensated for their losses.

Ms Sturgeon added: “The UK Government just appears to be telling businesses to get on with it or face the threat of fines – that is unconscionable, and it is unacceptable.

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We will do everything we can to support our exporters – but the position they are in right now is one they should never, ever have been allowed to be put into.”

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “We are aware of a small number of issues relating to the movement of fish and seafood due to some information not being entered correctly into UK and French systems.

“Both the UK and French systems are working. We are contacting exporters, their representatives and transporters to help them understand the requirements and we will work closely with them to keep their goods moving.

“It is vital that exporters check they have entered in details correctly and ensure that they have provided the transporter of the goods with the correct documentation.”