Shellfish trucks protest in London over export chaos

More than 20 shellfish trucks parked on roads near the British parliament and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Downing Street residence on Monday to protest against post-Brexit bureaucracy that has throttled exports to the European Union.

Many fishermen have been unable to export to the EU since catch certificates, health checks and customs declarations were introduced at the start of this year, delaying their deliveries and prompting European buyers to reject them.

Trucks with slogans such as “Brexit carnage” and “incompetent government destroying shellfish industry” parked metres from Johnson’s 10 Downing Street office in central London. Police were asking the lorry drivers for details.

“We strongly feel the system could potentially collapse,” said Gary Hodgson, a director of Venture Seafoods, which exports live and processed crabs and lobsters to the EU and had trucks parked near Downing Street.

“Prime Minister Boris Johnson needs to be honest with us, with himself and with the British public about the problems for the industry,” he told Reuters. He said one operator needed 400 pages of export documentation last week to board a ferry to the EU.

David Rosie, transport manager at DR Collin & Son which employs 200 people, used to send one or two lorries a night to France carrying live crab, lobster and langoustine worth around 150,000 pounds ($203,000). He said he has not exported a single box this year.

Fishermen, he said, “lost their livelihoods in the turn of a clock” when Britain left the EU’s orbit on New Year’s Eve.

Under a deal reached last month, British trade with the EU remains free of tariffs and quotas on goods, but fish exporters say their businesses are now threatened by a host of often conflicting demands for documents to export to the EU.

A spokesman for the British government’s environment ministry declined immediate comment. Environment Secretary George Eustice said last week that post-Brexit “teething problems” on fish exports could be resolved shortly.

Fishing alone contributes 0.1% of Britain’s GDP if processing is included, but for coastal communities of Britain it is a lifeline and a traditional way of life.

The Scotland Food & Drink association says exporters could be losing more than 1 million pounds in sales a day.

Those participating in the protest said they did not know how long they could survive. Many in coastal communities voted for Brexit but said they had not expected this impact.

Allan Miller, owner of AM Shellfish in Aberdeen, Scotland, said it was impossible to get by with the paperwork or veterinary checks. His deliveries of live brown crab, lobster and prawns were being delayed, with some of it arriving dead, and thus getting lower prices.

“It’s not a premium Scottish shellfish that we’re shipping anymore,” he said.

Miller criticised Johnson’s Brexit trade deal, saying delivery times had doubled from 24 hours.

“Now you’re talking 48 hours to 50 hours. It’s crazy,” he said.

Similar articles

  • UK starts replacing EU regulations

    UK starts replacing EU regulations

    Britain is to begin replacing or scrapping EU regulations that were copied into British law before EU divorcet, Brexit minister David Frost said. To avoid uncertainty and confusion as Britain left the EU after 40 years, the government automatically carried thousands of EU laws and regulations into British law so that they would still apply after Brexit.

    88
  • UK’s PM Johnson replaces foreign secretary in Cabinet shake-up

    UK’s PM Johnson replaces foreign secretary in Cabinet shake-up

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson demoted his top diplomat and fired his education minister in a major government shakeup Wednesday, as he tried to move on from a series of political missteps and revive his promise to “level up” prosperity across the UK, AP reported. In the biggest move, Johnson demoted Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has faced criticism for delaying his return from a holiday in Greece as the Taliban took over Afghanistan last month.

    68
  • UK recommends Covid-19 booster shots for over 50s

    UK recommends Covid-19 booster shots for over 50s

    The UK will offer a third dose of Covid-19 vaccine to everyone over age 50 and other vulnerable people after an expert panel said the boosters were needed to protect against waning immunity this winter, AP reported. Health Secretary Sajid Javid told lawmakers on Tuesday that the government had accepted the recommendation of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization and would start offering booster shots next week. The World Health Organization has asked wealthy nations to delay booster shots until every country has vaccinated at least 40% of their populations.

    68