UK shellfish will suffer “disproportionately” under Brexit

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Concerns have been raised about the impact of the Uk shellfish sector
Concerns have been raised about the impact of the Uk shellfish sector

Related tags Brexit

Brexit uncertainty and delays at the border will mean the shellfish sector suffers “disproportionately”, according to Luke Pollard, Labour (Co-operative) MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport and shadow environment secretary.

Writing in The House​, the magazine published in Parliament, Pollard said that Britain’s shellfish industry was a hidden secret”​ as more than 80% was exported, largely to the EU.

“Crabs and lobsters landed around the UK receive the highest prices when shipped live via vivier lorries (trucks designed to ship live shellfish from harbour to market) to the EU,”​ he wrote.  

“They provide the single highest-value, high-volume market and, with just months until the end of the Brexit transition period, the industry’s uncertainty and frustrations are palpable.”

He wrote that hauliers had predicted that costs associated with customs clearance could double or triple, while there were increased costs estimated from local authorities producing health certificates.

At the time of writing, we have no confirmation on which existing ports and routes in the EU markets will accept vivier lorries or, more broadly, fresh or frozen fisheries products,”​ he wrote.

France is the main export market for crustaceans, such as crab and lobster, followed by Spain, Portugal and Italy, he said. But he raised concerns that most of them were routed through French ports and it would be up to the French Government to apply and provide these routes.

“The only certainty for the shellfish sector seems to be uncertainty. It is unlikely these lucrative EU markets can be replaced easily or without significant upfront cost,”​ he wrote.

“Fishing might be the Brexit poster industry, but the conditions for a coastal renaissance are far from ready. That needs to change if this industry is not to suffer from a hurried and uncertain Brexit​.”


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