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'Brexit carnage: shellfish trucks protest in London over export delays

WorldJan 18, 2021 12:01PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Fishing ships are seen docked at sunrise in the village of Thyboron in Jutland, Denmark 2/2

By Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton

LONDON (Reuters) - More than 20 shellfish trucks parked on roads near the British parliament and Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Downing Street residence on Monday to protest against post-Brexit bureaucracy that has throttled exports to the European Union.

Many fishermen have been unable to export to the EU since catch certificates, health checks and customs declarations were introduced at the start of this year, delaying their deliveries and prompting European buyers to reject them.

Trucks with slogans such as "Brexit carnage" and "incompetent government destroying shellfish industry" parked metres from Johnson's 10 Downing Street office in central London. Police were asking the lorry drivers for details.

"We strongly feel the system could potentially collapse," said Gary Hodgson, a director of Venture Seafoods, which exports live and processed crabs and lobsters to the EU.

"Prime Minister Boris Johnson needs to be honest with us, with himself and with the British public about the problems for the industry," he told Reuters. One operator, he said, needed 400 pages of export documentation last week to enter Europe.

David Rosie at DR Collin & Son, which employs 200 people, used to send one or two lorries a night to France carrying live crab, lobster and langoustine worth around 150,000 pounds ($203,000). He said he had not exported a single box this year.

Fishermen, he said, "lost their livelihoods in the turn of a clock" when Britain left the EU's orbit on New Year's Eve.

"TEETHING PROBLEMS"

Under a deal reached last month, British trade with the EU remains free of tariffs and quotas. But the creation of a full customs border means goods must be checked and paperwork filled in, shattering express delivery systems.

Using a phrase that has angered many business owners, Johnson described the changes as "teething problems", and said they had been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said a 23-million-pound fund had been created to compensate businesses that "through no fault of their own have experienced bureaucratic delays, difficulties getting their goods through where there is a genuine buyer on the other side of the channel."

Fishing alone contributes 0.1% of Britain's GDP if processing is included, but for coastal communities it is a lifeline and a traditional way of life.

The Scotland Food & Drink association says exporters could be losing more than 1 million pounds in sales a day.

Many in coastal communities voted for Brexit but said they had not expected this impact.

Allan Miller, owner of AM Shellfish in Aberdeen, Scotland, said times for his deliveries of live brown crab, lobster and prawns had doubled from 24 hours. This mean lower prices and some of the product did not survive, he said.

"You're talking 48 hours to 50 hours. It's crazy," he said.

($1 = 0.7383 pounds)

'Brexit carnage: shellfish trucks protest in London over export delays
 

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Comments (10)
Santiago Lopez
Santiago Lopez Jan 18, 2021 3:36PM ET
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Fear what you wish...
Francesco Lucchesi
Francesco Lucchesi Jan 18, 2021 12:31PM ET
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enjoy your freedom. you have taken back control. now keep your shellfish for yourself or sell it to Papua New Guinea
Santiago Lopez
Santiago Lopez Jan 18, 2021 12:31PM ET
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Hey Brits, this is what happens when you forget that L'union fait la force
Azad molla
Azad molla Jan 18, 2021 12:06PM ET
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Me comment
Me comment Jan 18, 2021 10:25AM ET
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typical you vote for something, get it, then complain about it.
Paolo Sarvia
Paolo Sarvia Jan 18, 2021 9:43AM ET
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They wanted It, now they have It. Enjoy!
andy matalobos
andy matalobos Jan 18, 2021 9:36AM ET
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Let those British pirates drown on that parasite island, the EU doesn't need England.
Mase Gumbo
Mase Gumbo Jan 18, 2021 9:36AM ET
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hear hear:)
Ben Dover
Ben Dover Jan 18, 2021 9:25AM ET
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The same people that voted for brexit?
Paul Dunne
Paul Dunne Jan 18, 2021 9:25AM ET
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No, Scotland voted against it.
Paul Dunne
Paul Dunne Jan 18, 2021 9:25AM ET
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Paul Dunne Thumb down? Someone doesn't believe me! :)
Carrascal Eduardo
Edouard Jan 18, 2021 9:09AM ET
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that tantrum os only de Beijing...
Gary SKY saw
Gary SKY saw Jan 18, 2021 9:09AM ET
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You are one genius ever leave in this world
Irresistible Truth
Irresistible Truth Jan 18, 2021 8:02AM ET
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There are advantages and disadvantages of being part of the European Economic Union. Less burocracy is a disadvantage, more freedom of choice and more freedom of policy is an advantage. Sorry that guys business is in a difficult situation, but this details will get figured out.  in the meanwhile I'm fine with him parking his stinking lorries in from of prime minister's house, that will make him realize the urgency of the matter.  No advantage in disturbing the public.
DANY Malone
DANY Malone Jan 18, 2021 6:50AM ET
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Lol, you reap what you sow...
 
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