BREXIT’S impact on Scotland’s fishing industry will be “catastrophic” without a trade deal, MSPs will be told tomorrow.

The Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation (SCFF), in a submission to Holyrood’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, says the ramifications of a no-deal Brexit, with hard borders and tariffs, could make it pointless for Scotland’s fishermen to go out to sea.

SCFF’s economist suggests the cost of fishing could jump by between 40 and 90 per cent – making it too expensive to fish for shellfish.

“That would be a crying shame, as we have some of the world’s best shellfish,” SCFF national co-ordinator Alistair Sinclair told The National. “We’re all in a state of limbo, because there seems to be a power struggle in the Conservative Party in Whitehall.”

The livelihood of the SCFF’s members, made up of creelers and divers, depends on being able to transport live shellfish, quickly as any hold-up is detrimental to the product.

Delays can shorten the shelf life of produce, increase handling, food waste and cost. Currently, fresh seafood from Scotland can be on Mediterranean tables within 48 hours of it being landed.

But coming out of the single market and the customs union, and introducing hard borders, where a vet or animal welfare consultant will need to inspect catches as they go from one country to another, will mean huge delays.

The SCFF also expresses fears about tariffs, through which the exporters of Scottish fish to another county would have to pay customs duties to make sure that country’s locally-produced fare has a price advantage. The organisation’s economist notes the tariffs applied by the EU on non-members without a specific trade deal range from zero per cent to over 80 per cent.

He wrote: “There is no doubt the food sector in the UK would be subject to very high tariffs. For fish and crustaceans the World Trade Organization (WTO) tariff would be nine per cent. For processed meat and fish the figure is 34 per cent.”

The SCFF says this will lead to sales of UK fish and crustaceans in the EU falling by 40 per cent. For sales of processed meat and fish the figure is closer to 90 per cent. “The scampi producers should be very worried,” the economist warns.

Shellfish is an important aspect of the Scottish fishing industry, with recent annual values of more than £90 million.

Statistics released last year showed a 25 per cent increase in value, and 10 per cent increase in volume, of shellfish landed in Scotland in 2016.

The authors of a report warn that “a decision by the UK to deviate from the common external tariff means removing itself from the EU customs union which in turn means that customs checks and documentation to comply with rules of origin would need to be implemented in order to prevent third countries from transiting goods through the UK to avoid higher EU tariffs”.

The SCFF warns of “devastating results on the food sector across Scotland”. “There would be no point going to sea,” Sinclair said. “The best thing that could happen would be another referendum.”

Those views are not shared by all in Scotland’s fishing industry.

Scottish fishermen’s leaders, who have long struggled with EU reg- ulations, have been some of the most passionate Brexiteers and are keen to get out as soon as possible, despite the impact leaving the EU may have on creeling colleagues.

Earlier this month, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: “Becoming a coastal state on day one in order that we can negotiate the best deal could make a real economic difference to our coastal communities.

“There is the realisation of the sea of opportunity that exists from exiting the common fisheries policy – but it can only work if we get out on day one. There is no other way.”

UK Government Environment Secretary Michael Gove recently told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show it was “crystal clear” that “the moment we leave, we become an independent coastal state”. He added: “I and my colleagues are clear; we will have continuing good relations with our European partners.”

Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, said: “It is apparent that Brexit has the potential to impact significantly on Scottish fisheries and seafood exporters who may face the imposition of tariff and non-tariff barriers, creating significant barriers to trade with European markets, and, in some cases, loss of subsidy support.

“This is unacceptable and puts at risk the livelihood of thousands of families and businesses who depend on fishing in Scotland and who need certainty on what the future holds. Significant additional quotas to offset in part ‎some tariff barriers cannot be taken for granted and underestimate the complexities of international negotiations.

“We have always been clear that the best option for Scotland and the rest of the UK would be remaining within the single market and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that the UK position reflects fully the interests of all parts of the UK.”