French MEP admits concern over EU shellfish ban…but Brussels insiders REJECT UK lifeline

Brexit: UK 'must focus trade on CPTPP regions' says Habib

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Such is the dire situation for British shellfish exporters, they have warned the industry faces annihilation if the ban continues. Even French MEP of the En Marche party Pierre Karleskind, has called on Brussels to find a resolution to the ban. Speaking to the EU Parliament’s fisheries committee, he said a temporary legal framework must be created before a long-term solution is found.

He said: “This is a very problematic issue for export companies in the UK and retailers in the EU.”

Previously the MEP had also claimed the ban did not make sense as the UK’s waters were still viable post-Brexit.

Despite the concerns raised by the MEP, EU Commission sources have claimed the UK will not be granted a special export health licence.

One insider told the Financial Times: “There will be no new export health certificate at the end of April for any third country, including the UK.

“British exports have to fulfil the rules applied to a third country.”

The UK is desperate for the EU to overturn the ban on the export of live shellfish such as oysters, clams and mussels.

Despite the crippling nature of the ban, the EU has insisted it will treat the UK as other non-EU countries going forward.

The Government created a new £32million fund to help fishermen who have been hindered by the post-Brexit customs checks but UK shellfish exporters fear for their future.

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Martin Laity, who runs Sailor’s Creek Shellfish based in Flushing, Cornwall said: “We haven’t sent a load since December.

“We’ll be finished if this isn’t sorted — and 52 people have jobs in this.

“I knew Brexit was going to be bad but I didn’t know it would stop trade in its entirety.”

Environment minister George Eustice has called on the EU to be more flexible, while insisting a new licence system will be produced in April.


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He has now written to EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides, to ask for an urgent solution to the matter.

Despite his claims, EU sources claim Brussels has applied the legislation correctly and will not reverse the ban.

The EU has a ban on the import of shellfish which are caught in the category of clean waters known as class B.

This applies to the waters off the South-West coast of England and around Scotland.

The new barriers which came into force from January 1 have put a stop to a large portion of shellfish not ready for consumption.

Before Brexit, they were sent to Europe where they were purified and then sent to restaurants.

Now, the EU’s standards require shellfish to be pre-purified and have health certificates before being exported.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has maintained they do not see any reasonable excuse for the ban.

A statement read: “We’re seeking urgent resolution with the European Commission and we have offered to provide reasonable additional reassurances to demonstrate shellfish health, on the understanding the commission must recognise the existing high standards and history of UK-EU trade.”

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