British fishermen turn to Asia in bid to bypass ‘rubbish’ post-Brexit export red tape

Brexit: UK fishermen slam ‘rubbish’ EU export market

Fishermen in the UK have spoken of their plans to switch supplying the European Union for the booming Asian market as customs restrictions and export delays have made selling to Europe “pointless.” Some have spoken of completely transforming their vessels to target alternative seafood after losing their whole fish export market as a result of new post-Brexit trade rules. Fishing fleets in Devon have spoken of transferred fish going bad due to delays with the chaos leaving them little choice but to switch to other global buyers.

Trawler skipper Ben Vass told Euronews he had already had to fire two of his crew and had converted his boat from catching fish for a European market to catching whelks for export to Asia.

He said: “All the EU that used to buy a lot of our fish, they’ve stopped because the fish that were getting transferred were going bad. So we’ve lost our whole export market.”

“80% of our sales get shipped to the EU, so obviously now it’s all stopped,” explained another fisherman, Nathan Daley. 

“Our prices have dropped. All our fish is getting frozen. So it’s just rubbish, it’s pointless at the moment.”

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Fishing rights campaigner and Brexiteer June Mummery said Boris Johnson’s trade deal with the EU leaves “no fish” for her company.

The former Brexit Party MEP is the latest figure in the fishing industry to attack the Prime Minister’s deal. Several people in the long-suffering sector have accused him of a “sell-out”.

Ms Mummery has long campaigned for Britain’s coastal communities to be rebuilt post-Brexit.

She said the UK-EU trade deal did not go far enough to help struggling fishermen after years of working under rules stipulated by Brussels.

Brexit: UK fishermen slam ‘rubbish’ EU export market

The ex-MEP, who owns a seafood company, said having to wait five years for fishing quotas to expire is “a long time when you have nothing”.

She said the arrangements Mr Johnson had agreed with the Europeans fall short of what is needed to boost the industry.

And in a grim prediction, she said many people working in the fishing sector will be left with little choice but to quit.

During an interview with former MEP turned commentator Martin Daubney, she said: “As fishing goes, and if we want to hang on to the industry we have, five years is a long time when you have nothing.

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“We’re on our knees.

Many fishermen in the UK have said they feel betrayed by the post-Brexit trade deal.

Trawlerman Gavin Addison, who works out of the port of Peterhead in Scotland, told the Financial Times: “We thought it was going to help the industry, that it was going to put the fishing back into the control of British fishermen.

“We were shafted.”

The Government has maintained contact will be constant with fishermen to ensure the “teething problems” they have been facing since the end of the transition period are resolved,

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