Brexit POLL: Should Boris cut EU’s fishing quota after UK shellfish ban?

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During a time of uncertainty for the fishing industry, the bombshell comes after an established exporter claimed the EU’s decision was likely to “destroy any hope we had of the future”. Now Express.co.uk is asking whether the Prime Minister should cut the EU’s fishing quota?

This news comes after the UK Government told exporters the ban would end on April 21 when Brussels introduced new animal health legislation.

But an EU Commission official has now confirmed this was not the case.

An email sent on January 19, warned it was “strictly forbidden for bivalve molluscs originating from third countries, such as UK”.

It added how “molluscs accompanied by an aquacertificate, wild or from aquaculture, cannot in any case reach a depuration centre in the EU”.

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Seen by PoliticsHome, the email did not mention any of the restrictions being phased out in April despite previous assurances from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Another email sent by Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis said the trade would be able to restart with “the introduction of a relevant certificate” due to be introduced on April 21.

Rob Benson, co-director of Kingfisher Seafoods, argued the current rules mean in order to keep exporting shellfish there would have to be an investment of around £1million on processing equipment, packing and labelling.

He said: “Our business relies almost entirely on sending live cockles and mussels for further processing in the EU.

“Our sales have dropped off a cliff since December 31.

“We were bracing ourselves to keep going until April but this news has all but destroyed any hope we had of the future.

“This is not a teething issue, this is the government removing all our teeth and leaving us unable to eat.”

Mr Benson continued: “This is not new policy. This has always been there.

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“This is the Government not doing their job to safeguard the industry.

“Before December 31 we were in the EU and DEFRA was responsible for policing imports from third countries.

“Now we are out of the EU how come it is only now we are told of the situation.

“It’s like saying a policeman who’s been on the beat for the last 50 years didn’t know the law.”

A Defra spokesman said: “Live bivalve molluscs such as oysters, mussels, clams, cockles and scallops can continue to be exported to the EU if they’re harvested from class A waters or cleaned, or have cleared end product testing in the UK.

“We will continue to raise the issue of live bivalve molluscs not ready for human consumption with the EU, to ensure the trade can continue securely.”

Shellfish such as oysters, mussels, clams, cockles and scallops often need to be processed to make them suitable for human consumption.

Previously batches could be purified in the EU before they were distributed to supermarkets, restaurants and bars.

Back in December, Mr Johnson secured a Brexit trade deal with the European Union but has faced backlash from a fishermen up and down the country over red tape.

Last month, Mr Johnson agreed to pay £23million to compensate the fishing industry for losses caused by Brexit red tape.

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