More than 100 fishing boats and their crews and owners on the islands will soon run into a wall of post-Brexit red tape if they don't progress fast with a new registration scheme - and still want to export produce to the remaning EU countries.
Local fishing vessel owners are being reminded that they need to register as ‘food businesses’, and have their vessel inspected by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to enable catch to be exported, either directly or indirectly, to Europe after EU-exit is completed on December 31.
Owners of Outer Hebrides registered vessels are urged to contact Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar’s Environmental Health team to register their vessels and make arrangements for their vessel to be inspected. This is a legal requirement for those vessels who intend to export their catch, either directly or indirectly, to any EU Member State after the end of the ‘transition period’ on 31st December 2020.
Exemptions apply if your catch is intended either for personal consumption, or it does not exceed 25kg and is for direct sale from the quayside.
Vessel owners are responsible for this registration process, and failure to do so may mean that their catches cannot be exported to EU member states at the end of the transition period.
A Comhairle spokesperson said: “90 fishing vessels have already registered and environmental health have carried out over 70 inspections. However, there are over 200 vessels operating in the islands and we are reminding owners to get registered so inspections can be arranged before the end of the year.”