SCOTS fishermen have lodged a protest with Boris Johnson saying they are forced to sail an extra 48 hours to Denmark, to sell their fish because of Brexit.

Up to 40% of fish sold at an auction in Denmark so far in 2021 have come from Scottish boats, according to a one Nordic logistics industry leading figure.

The move confirmed by the Scottish Fishermen's Federation comes as prices in the UK have collapsed in the aftermath of Brexit.

They claim their catch can fetch twice as much as in this country.

The SFF has confirmed that some are doing this as it is the "only way" to guaranteed their catch will make a fair price.

It has lodged a protest with the Prime Minister over the situation.

SFF chief executive Elspeth Macdonald has today written to the Prime Minister voicing the industry's anger over the mounting financial losses faced by vessels on top of the "desperately poor" Brexit fisheries deal.

She said: "Many fishing vessels are tied to the quay wall. Of the others that can go to sea, some are now making a 72 hour round trip to land fish in Denmark, as the only way to guarantee that their catch will make a fair price and actually find its way to market while still fresh enough to meet customer demands. "

Jesper Kongsted, a fish auctioneer in Hanstholm on Denmark’s North Sea coast estimated that 30-40% of the 1,300 tonnes of fish sold at Hanstholm this year came from Scottish fishing boats.

He said there was recent dialogue with 10-15 new boats, "because their market has suddenly become completely different from what they knew before January 1".

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He said one Scots boat loaded with 15 tons of monkfish arriving on Thursday night was expected to net its skipper around £27,000 more than it would in Peterhead, according to Mr Kongsted.

“Boris Johnson probably forgot to explain what leaving the EU would mean for fishermen’s ability to sell to the European market,” Mr Kongsted said.

This comes after SNP Commons leader Tommy Sheppard described reports of Scottish fish being left to rot due to bureaucracy as the “Brexit fishing disaster”, demanding that the fishing industry is compensated for the loss in trade.


Seafood From Scotland, which represents the seafood industry said prices for many species of seafood have fallen 40% to 50% just this week, with some dropping as much as 80%.

"The impact of the Brexit transition on the Scottish seafood industry has been far-reaching, ranging from computer failures to a lack of clarity on paperwork, rendering efforts to export “all but impossible,” said Donna Fordyce, the chief executive at Seafood From Scotland.

In a letter, The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations accused Boris Johnson of sacrificing the industry and being dishonest about which rights fishermen had obtained in the trade deal between the UK and EU.

“It is not that, in the end, you were forced to concede in the face of an intransigent and powerful opponent that has caused such fury across our industry, it is that you have tried to present the agreement as a major success when it is patently clear that it is not,” the federation’s letter said.

Fergus Ewing used a statement to Holyrood on Thursday to speak out about the problem the fishing fleet had faced as a result of Brexit.

He said they were landing their catch in Denmark to avoid the “bureaucratic system” that exports to Europe now involve.

Exports of fresh fish and seafood have been hit by delays after the UK’s transition period ended on December 31, with Tory MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston saying this “uncertainty” had resulted in some boats opting to stay in port.

Meanwhile, Scottish Government analysis of the Brexit deal finally agreed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson has claimed the amount of fish the fleet can land will fall for a number of key catches – including North Sea haddock and cod.

The Brexit agreement also allows for European boats to fish in UK waters for the next five years.

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Speaking about the deal, Mr Ewing said: “Remarkably the Scottish industry will now have access to fewer fishing opportunities than under the existing Common Fisheries Policy arrangements, even at the end of the five-and-a-half year adjustment period.”

The Rural Economy Secretary said one business had told him that if the problems with exporting their catch continued for another week they may no longer be able to stay in business.

He added: “Fishing vessels are landing their catch in Denmark now to avoid the bureaucratic system.

“Prices have collapsed for the caught fish sector by 50% or more, trade deals have been lost and customers gone elsewhere.

“This is a truly dreadful situation.”