Scotland’s salmon sector has expressed frustration over the "painfully slow" implementation of measures to smooth trade flow and open new markets since Brexit.

According to costs calculated by Salmon Scotland, the trade body which represents the sector, post-Brexit bureaucracy has cost Scottish salmon companies an extra £3 million a year since the UK formally left the EU on January 31, 2020.

Salmon Scotland believe that one of the measures causing red tape for salmon farming companies is the lack of new eCertification for export health certificates (EHCs), and issues with the current outdated system.

The trade body said it is willing to work with the UK Government to put in place any measures that make it easier to export their product to Europe, having already piloted a successful electronic EHC system "which shows what can be achieved". 

On Tuesday, Salmon Scotland chief executive Tavish Scott raised the need for swifter government-wide action with the Scotland Office.

READ MORE: Scottish salmon exports leap despite fall in biggest market

With salmon increasingly popular in traditionally smaller European markets such as the Netherlands and Spain, and soaring in demand in Asia, smoother trade flow and new markets "would open up the possibility of more investment in the Scottish economy and more high-skilled Scottish jobs", according to Salmon Scotland.

The export market involves annual salmon sales of around £600 million-a-year, while
farm-raised salmon directly employs 2,500 people in Scotland - with a further 10,000 jobs dependent on the sector.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “Four years on since Brexit, our farmers continue to face excessive red tape, while progress at smoothing trade flow and opening new markets remains painfully slow.

“Defra ministers need to urgently prioritise the UK’s largest food export, and I will be enlisting further support from other parts of government.

“International demand for Scottish salmon, rightly considered the best in the world, is incredibly high – and with less bureaucracy we could further grow exports.

“This in turn would generate millions of pounds for the Scottish and UK economies.”

A UK government spokesperson said:  “We fully recognise the importance of Scottish salmon to the Scottish and UK economy, and are committed to supporting the sector.

“We remain committed to delivering the most advanced border in the world. The Border Target Operating Model is key to this and introduces an innovative approach to importing that will be introduced progressively.

“Following last year’s pilots, Defra has moved to the next phase of development in building a fully digital service for Export Health Certificates which will provide the capacity to send digital certificates to EU and Rest of World countries, reducing burden and cost for industry.”