Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis has said that she is looking at a “very granular way” at helping the UK shellfish industry
Fisheries Minister Vicotria Prentis has said that she is looking at a “very granular way” at helping the UK shellfishing industry.
Minister Victoria Prentis was answering a question from Neil Parish MP this morning, who asked what the Government is doing to support the shellfish industry, given businesses have faced severe issues supporting their produce to the EU.
UK based producers and exporters of live bivalve molluscs from Class B and Class C waters have been unable to export their product due to the EU’s ban on the import of such from third countries, which the UK has become since 01 January 2021.
The UK’s Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has claimed that there is no legal justification for the ban and had claimed that a gentleman’s agreement had been reached with the EU over exports, which the EU later reneged on, but evidence later emerged that Eustice new that the export of such live bivalve molluscs would come into effect once the UK left the EU.
Companies such as Offshore Shellfish in Devon have been devastated by the ban, and Managing Director John Holmyard has been campaigning for the UK government to tackle the issue.
This morning, Neil Parish who is the MP for Tiverton and Honiton is also Chair of the EFRA Committee who have been examining closely the extent that Brexit have impacted on trade with the EU.
In the House of Commons this morning he asked Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis, what was the UK government going to do to help shellfish producers:
“The point with the shellfish is that the European Commission have acted very badly in my view. I have sympathy for the Ministers, but I also have huge sympathy for the shellfish industry. The Food Standards Agency can move faster still to reallocate from class B to class A, and we need the agencies working together quickly. And I also would like to see some direct support to the shellfish industry because we are putting shellfish businesses out of business, and no politician and no government wants to do that.”
The Minister for Fisheries answered, “The Honourable Gentleman does raise important points as well about shellfish. It is right that this is a very difficult issue. It’s not one we wanted or would have chosen. We want to export class B1 molluscs still to the EU and we think that that should be possible.
“However, we are looking in a very granular way at how we can best support the industry.
“I am very involved in this. I have spoken to colleagues across Government including repeatedly in the FSA, and the Department of Health and I’d like to reassure the Hon. Gentleman that we are dealing with this in a proportionate and joined-up way.”