MP joins fish processing sector leaders for Brexit talks

David Duguid with Liam Fox
David Duguid with Liam Fox

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid joined fish processing sector leaders for talks in Aberdeen with International Trade Secretary Liam Fox yesterday.

The Cabinet Secretary was due in the Granite City for meetings with representatives of the North Sea oil and gas industry and agreed to take the time to meet fish processing firms as well after a request from Mr Duguid at Westminster.

Andrew Charles, managing director of the Scottish Seafood Association, Jimmy Buchan, business manager for the Scottish Seafood Association and Sinclair Banks and Iain Stephen from Lunar all took part in the discussions.

A number of issues relating to Brexit were raised, including access to labour, export opportunities for the industry and details of what the final deal between the EU and UK will look like.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Duguid said: “I was very pleased that the Secretary of State agreed to meet fish processing sector leaders during his trip to Aberdeen.

“He understands this is a vital part of our local economy, not just here in the north-east of Scotland, but in other coastal areas of the UK.

“There are clearly huge opportunities from Brexit for the processing sector, and there is excitement about what that could mean in future.

“If there are more fish being caught, there will be a need for improved infrastructure and processing capacity here in the north-east.

“However, business needs certainty and there is understandably a desire to know what the final deal between the UK and EU will look like before investment decisions are made.

“Also, there are concerns over access to labour, which is so important for fish processing in particular.

“It was good to hear Dr Fox agree with the obvious need for workers to come into this country, given the low unemployment rate in areas like Aberdeenshire.

“Above all, I was pleased to see another Cabinet Minister here in the north-east engaging positively with representatives of our key industries and working to ensure we get the best out of Brexit.”