"They said free-trade, this is no trade": Calls for compensation over post-Brexit shellfish ban

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Sarah Saunders

Whitstable's world famous oyster export industry is under threat, following a post-Brexit ban on the export of live shellfish direct from British waters.

The Whitstable Oyster Company is calling on the Government for compensation after it was left with 150 tonnes of the shellfish, normally destined for France, but now stuck in the UK because of the new rules.

The Government says it is trying to resolve the issue, but the block on the transport of live shellfish, including oysters, muscles and scallops from grade 'B' British waters to the EU seems to be permanent.

James Green, Whitstable Oyster Company, says jobs could be at risk.

If shellfish can be purified, or 'depurated', it can be exported, but Graham West, of Whitstable's West Whelks, says even then exports are being left to rot.

Shellfish export companies say DEFRA insisted in the lead-up to Brexit that their trade with the EU would not be affected by Brexit, but the ban has left many companies struggling.

The Government said in a statement: “There is no scientific or technical justification for the European Commission banning the import of live bivalve mollusks from class B waters.

“We’re continuing to seek resolution on this matter, and we are willing to provide additional reassurances to demonstrate shellfish health within reason, but this must recognise the existing high standards and history of trade between us.”