Fishing frustration as stock goes to waste during Brexit ‘teething problems’

  • Watch: Rural affairs minister George Eustice MP on Brexit fishing delays


Cornwall’s George Eustice has reassured West Country fishermen that difficulties caused by Brexit will soon be resolved.

The minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who represents Camborne and Redruth, has described delays on exports as “teething problems”.

Since departing the European Union, thousands of pounds worth of fresh fish caught by West Country fisherman has gone to waste - with lorries reportedly delayed or turned away at the French border.

The Government says delays on exports of fish will be resolved soon.

This has prompted criticism in Parliament from MPs representing fishing areas.

“They are only teething problems,” Eustice said. “Once people get used to the paperwork, goods will flow normally."

Of course, it would have been open to the EU to offer us a greater period just as we have done with their goods coming over to us. For reasons known only to the EU and the way they approached the regulations, that wasn’t something they were willing to do.

George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

For those working in the industry, it has been a difficult couple of weeks as the UK adjusts to life outside the EU.

'Catastrophic'

Martin Laity, who is a shellfish exporter, described the situation as “catastrophic”.

“You take the average seafood shellfish exporter in the South West, [it’s] 80 percent export, probably 20 percent for the UK market.

“80 percent of their business now is non-viable - so it's just catastrophic. The prices on the markets I've heard are dropping. 

“Something's got to be sorted.”

Stock is being delayed at the French border(pictured), according to those working in the fishing industry.

This was echoed in Parliament by Luke Pollard, who is the Labour MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport and Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

He said the fishing industry had been “let down” and “betrayed” by the Government.


Read more: