FRENCH traders have hit out at delays on consignments of Scottish fish imports as crews sail for Denmark, not Scotland, amidst Brexit chaos.

Paperwork problems have crippled exports of produce from the UK to the EU.

Road hauliers were moving small quantities yesterday but some firms continue to refuse groupage deliveries of multiple products in one load as form fails stop trucks from reaching their destinations.

Delays and cancellations have cost firms significant amounts of money and hit the fishing sector hard, with prices for premium Scottish goods tanking and boats left tied up at harbour as custom dries up.

While demand is still there, customers in France, Spain and other key continental markets have told Scots firms they can’t wait for the goods.

Approximately one third of the country’s fleet is tied up at harbour, according to Scotland Food and Drink chief executive officer James Withers, who said some boats “are now landing in Denmark, not Scotland” in a bid to avoid the bureaucratic net.

The National:

Prices were down up to 80% at Peterhead market on Monday, with some fish that normally go for up to £60 a box fetching just £8 in what has been dubbed “withdrawal prices”.

One French fish processor, JP Maree, said it had to seek monkfish from Norway and Denmark instead of the UK, while seafood wholesaler Demarne Freres said it has “never seen such delays” and called the situation “apocalyptic”.

Stephane Pruvost of JP Maree said: “When you have fewer sellers, there’s less choice on price, and sometimes quality. For now we’ve no other choice.”

Withers said that while landing catches in Denmark could avoid “a lot of Brexit bureaucracy” for crews, the practice may store up wider problems for Scotland’s food and drink sector. He stated: “If boats fish in UK waters, but land in Denmark, processors here are cut out of trade.

“If this becomes a new pattern, it’s a huge concern for processors here.”

Trade insurance group Euler Hermes Group SAS says Brexit may cost UK exporters £25 billion this year as demand weakens and red tape remains, cutting 1.1% from gross domestic product.

READ MORE: 'Grossly incompetent': Scottish salmon company John Ross's fury over Brexit

The SNP has called on Westminster to compensate Scots firms, something shrugged off by the Cabinet Office.

Fish firms in Dr Philippa Whitford’s Central Ayrshire constituency have turned to her for help amidst the upheaval Scotland voted to avoid by backing Remain in the 2016 EU referendum.

Yesterday Whitford, the SNP’s Brexit spokesperson, said the issues affect firms all across Scotland: “Scotland was dragged out of the EU against our will and our businesses and vital industries – such as fisheries and food and drink are already being seriously affected. Scottish Government analysis estimates that Scotland’s GDP could be around 6.1% – around £9bn – lower by 2030 compared to EU membership.

“Seafood companies in my own constituency have struggled to complete any exports to the EU this year and many boats are now tied up. Considering the brash promises that were made at the time of the referendum, many feel betrayed.”