The movement of fish to the EU can be challenging, with the recent changes following the United Kingdom coming out of the EU in January 2021. The movement of fish has been impacted by having to produce export paperwork and processes. On top of this the product will have to go through an import inspection, which impacts on the timescale of getting the product to market and adds additional cost. Some of our customers did not understand the process and what paperwork was required; for example, export declaration, health certificate, catch certificate, and Traces and Transit document (T1). Then once the consignments arrive at the port of entry an inspection must take place and the time this would take to get the consignment imported correctly into the country has to be factored in. Also, what has compounded this can be the lack of communication with the broker and this is fully tested when something goes wrong. Many of our customers have expressed their frustration that they could not get hold their broker or adviser for advice or support as their office was closed. Also, the person may not be responding to emails or phone calls with the outcome being that the consignment was delayed, not arriving to the consumer in the agreed time frame and on some occasions the consignment had to be destroyed. This has caused additional cost, frustration and lost revenue.

SGS has supported the market in many ways, such as providing the export paperwork, which includes the T1 (Transit document), and assisting with Traces and a robust reliable import process.  In the clearance process, where the inspection takes place, our agent works with the inspection office to assist with the process when required. It does not take much to cause a delay: paperwork not correct, or closure of the T1 document, just two of the challenges that can be compounded if your agent does not operate seven days a week.

I have the privilege to work with several wholesalers and fish suppliers and fully understand their frustrations. We have worked together to make their process more palatable by having in place a tight communication process throughout the supply chain, to call or email any time of the day and night. It also is imperative that the clearance process where the inspection takes place operates seven days a week and there is effective communication with the driver and shipper. The feedback I have received has been that they cannot believe the speed of clearance and when there has been an issue they were contacted straight away. The outcome has been the consignment has arrived at the destination within an acceptable time frame, which has helped to gain repeat business.

The UK has a long history of fishing in UK waters since the 14th century and SGS is keen to support an industry that has been in decline for a number of years and has been impacted by Brexit.

If you would like more information on how we can support your business, please do not hesitate to contact Sue Ladd on: or 01749 340259.