SCOTTISH salmon faces "huge unnecessary burdens" due to the Brexit deal being pursued by the UK Government, according to the trade body for the sector.

Exports to the EU do not need Export Health Certificates (EHCs) because of the free movement of goods within the union.

However, the UK Government's decision not to align with EU regulations in the future has caused concerns that EHCs will be needed once the transition period ends on December 31.

The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) estimates the cost of the added measures for Scottish farmed salmon will be between £1.3 million and £8.7 million per year.

Producers also warned that lorry-loads of Scottish salmon could be left to rot in an industrial estate at a cost of millions of pounds to the economy, in part due to the extra time it will take to process them.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief executive of the SSPO, said: "Scottish farmed salmon is the UK's biggest food export.

"We now send more than £190 million worth of salmon to France, a third of our total exports.

"Once in the main French markets, the salmon can then be dispatched to almost anywhere in the EU.

"We deal in a perishable product so it is crucial for the thousands of loyal customers we have in the EU that we get our fresh fish to key markets as quickly and smoothly as possible."

The added costs would depend on the amount charged by councils for each EHC and the number required per lorry load.

The SSPO also predicts it could mean the processing and signing of an extra 50,000 to 100,000 certificates every year.

Each one has to be signed by either an environmental health officer or a vet, meaning extra staff would be needed at the main haulage distribution hub, the DFDS base at Larkhall in South Lanarkshire, and delays and hold-ups in the dispatch of salmon to the continent.

Hesketh-Laird added: "We are appealing to the UK Government to make this a priority in negotiations with the EU.

"We want both sides to commit to allow seafood trade to the EU to continue as it is now, without the imposition of any new tariff or non-tariff barriers and we want UK ministers to call for this in negotiations."