The Scottish seafood industry is "disappointed" by the UK government's £23 million (€26.3 million/$31.7 million) support package, which was aimed at giving companies a slight reprieve from the damage caused to export trade post-Brexit.
The Seafood Disruption Support Scheme (SDSS), was released on Feb. 9, but has not yet had the desired effect, with many companies ineligible to receive any help at all.
Since Jan. 1, seafood exports from Scotland have "slowed to a trickle" as companies struggle to navigate systems that are not fit for purpose, being tested in real time, and are creating an intractable barrier to trade, said Donna Fordyce, chief executive of Seafood Scotland.
Some companies have even given up trying and have put their businesses on ice for the time being, at great financial suffering to their owners, staff, families, and communities.
"We hoped the £23 million (€26.3 million/$31.7 million) would go some way to alleviating the pressure, while the existing problems could be resolved," said Fordyce.
"However, the initial industry feedback today is one of disappointment, with many companies instantly realizing they will be ineligible for support."
This includes companies that have had to stop trading because their product has not been getting through or seafood businesses whose long-standing orders from customers in the EU have dried up because of the export crisis.
Companies cannot produce health certificates and other documentation for orders never made because of a lack of customer confidence that product would reach the EU on time, and in peak condition, Fordyce added.
“It’s probable that these companies will never be fully compensated for what they have lost and are still losing, but the damage could still be limited if the systems were workable and export gets back on track quickly," she said.