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Boris Johnson has unveiled a £23 million fund to compensate the fishing industry for losses caused by Brexit red tape as Scottish seafood hauliers descended on Downing Street to protest.
The Prime Minister confirmed that any business experiencing difficulty exporting to the EU "through no fault of their own" would be compensated.
However, he insisted the pandemic was responsible for some of the losses, citing reduced demand for Scottish seafood from restaurants on the Continent that have been forced to shut.
His announcement came as more than 20 lorries drove up Whitehall, the majority from seafood exporters in Scotland, complaining they were being "tied in knots with paperwork" by the Brexit fishing deal.
The Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) warned last week the industry was facing "mounting financial losses" and the only way to ensure a fair price was a 72-hour round trip to land catch in Denmark.
Exporters said they faced possible bankruptcy following a suspension of road deliveries last week due to border delays.
Mr Johnson said: "Insofar as there are problems at the moment, caused by teething problems, people not filling in the right forms, or misunderstandings, when it is not peoples’ fault, of course we are going to compensate and to help out, and funds have been put in place to do that.
"But be in no doubt that there are great opportunities for fishermen across the whole of the UK to take advantage of, the spectacular marine wealth of the United Kingdom."
He added: "Where businesses, through no fault of their own, have faced difficulties exporting where there is a genuine willing buyer, there's a £23 million fund to help out."
The Metropolitan Police said 14 people had been issued with fines after the hauliers' protest.
A spokesman for seafood firm DR Collin & Son, based in Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders, said: "The industry is being tied in knots with paperwork requirements which would be easy enough to navigate, given that companies have put in the time and training in order to have all the relevant procedures in place for Jan 1, 2021.
"However, all the training is going to waste as the technology is outdated and cannot cope with the demands being placed on it - which in turn is resulting in no produce being able to leave the UK.
"These are not 'teething issues' as reported by the Government and the consequences of these problems will be catastrophic on the lives of fishermen, fishing towns and the shellfish industry as a whole."
Alasdair Hughson, Scottish Creel Fishermen's Federation chairman, said: "If this debacle does not improve very soon we are looking at many established businesses coming to the end of the line."
Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said the Government was "trying to blame the fishing communities rather than accepting it's their failure to prepare."
But Douglas Ross, the Scottish Tory leader, welcomed the compensation. He said: "This situation has been devastating for our fishermen so I hope this money will be delivered as urgently as possible."