The National:

WE knew Brexit was going to be bad for business.

But as the weeks progress from B-Day on December 31, the reality of the sheer, utter nightmare for trade and exports is unfolding in a never-ending litany of despair with Scotland’s world-class seafood sector one of the worst affected.

Brexit is taking a wrecking ball to this centuries-old market. Post-Brexit border controls are causing chaos, with the so-called sovereignty dividend more a dead end for fish and seafood exports worth around £944 million to Scotland’s economy (figures from 2018).

Those in the industry are warning of serious long-term consequences of the UK Government’s utter failure to prepare for leaving the EU and incorporating new customs checks, leaving this sector in the lurch after wild promises to the very opposite by the Brexiteers.

READ MORE: Scots seafood industry lashes out at Tory Brexit 'shambles'

As gaps appear on shelves in Belgian and French supermarkets where Scottish salmon for instance once used to sell, other countries in Europe are spotting an opportunity to break into a new market in seafood now left increasingly vacant by Scotland.

A European correspondent to the Irish Times, Naomi O’Leary, noted this opening for Irish producers, with Ireland already knocking it out of the park in terms of bypassing the UK land-bridge to increase their own direct shipping routes to the continent. The Europort at Rosslare has seen a six-fold increase in freight on direct routes to Europe while traffic in the Irish Sea has halved.

It would seem that when Boris Johnson talked of “taking back control”, he really meant giving it to another country and decimating our own markets in the meantime.

Scottish fishermen are calling it “a catastrophe” as their fresh harvests spoil in a long line of red tape, bureaucratic gridlock and regulatory gobbledygook where one-day deliveries are now taking more than three - if they make it through the new customs border at all.

READ MORE: Jacob Rees-Mogg tells SNP fish are happier post-Brexit as they are British

At the other end, customers and buyers are opting out as produce arrives spoiled or out of date, the very opposite of oven-ready unless you want food poisoning. Scottish Fishermen now face their businesses drying up, reputations shattered, and the UK seen as a no-go zone for trade.

James Withers, CEO of Scotland Food and Drink, has said the financial impact of being wrenched from the EU’s single market and customs union will be “grave for many” with Scottish seafood exporters to the EU “losing upwards of one million pounds in sales a day” as they are “strangled by the very red tape we were promised we were escaping”.

The National:

Meanwhile in Michael Gove land, he’s busy trying to persuade the country that “so far, disruption at the border hasn’t been too profound” while also warning the industry to brace for “significant disruption”. Which is it Mr Gove?

It’s pretty profound when your business has been hit by the double whammy of Covid and now a needless act of self-harm that Scots never voted for in the first place. It’s pretty profound to lose your livelihood over Brexit chaos and governmental ineptitude.

Looking at the Irish situation only rubs salt in the wound. The Irish Government and the business community in the Republic have spent a lot of time preparing for Brexit, a situation they had no say in and had very little control over other than having the weight and support of an equal union in Europe behind them.

READ MORE: 'Shambles an understatement': Scots seafood industry lashes out at Brexit chaos

Watching their increase in direct trade with the continent is a stark reminder of Scotland’s far inferior position, tethered to an unequal, democracy denying and careless relationship with Westminster and the UK Government’s kamikaze one-track mind on all things Brexit.

The Irish have every right to spot opportunities in the UK’s downfall, such as increasing their export of seafood to plug the future gaps from where once globally renowned Scottish seafood products filled the shelves. But what a salutatory tale for Scotland and those in our export industry who took the Brexiteers at their word.

Ireland will also benefit from over one billion euros of the EU’s post-Brexit fund to counterbalance the adverse effects of Britain’s break with Europe, with 600m euros of this fund allocated specifically for the Irish fishery and agri-food sectors. Read it and weep Scotland.

Interestingly, the Scottish Tories - once so vocal on protecting the fishing industry - are strangely silent and maybe that’s partially due to their UK fishing minister saying that she was far too busy organising her village nativity trail to be bothered with the fine detail of the fishing deal.

The National:

So, whether it’s Tory nativity or tory naivety, coming face to face with the facts on Brexit rather than spin, sleight of hand and bluster is obviously an uncomfortable and inconvenient truth for the likes of Douglas Ross and Alister Jack.

This sector has been utterly abandoned by the Tory branch office in Scotland as well as Westminster all at sea without a captain. The blame for this crisis and the ensuing ruination of a multi-million-pound industry lies firmly at their door.

Despite hollow assurances from the PM, no definite financial compensation commitment has yet to be announced. It would seem that when Johnson said f**k business, he really meant it.