Brexit ‘only thing to blame’ for fishermen struggle, MEP claims as EU bans UK shellfish

Brexit ‘solely responsible’ for fishing issues says Karleskind

Pierre Kareskind was asked who was responsible for the European Union’s ban on UK shellfish in which the MEP replied it was down to Brexit. The European Commission has closed the doors to shellfish from the UK as many are caught in Class B waters whereas the bloc only accepts them from Class A waters. Many UK fishermen who relied on shellfish and exporting it to the EU have now been left with a difficult choice. 

Speaking to host Justin Webb on BBC’s Today programme, Mr Kareskind discussed the move from the EU and was asked who was to blame.

He said: “Well, this mess has a clear name, Brexit, this is the only (thing) responsible for that. 

“Protecting the European consumer is the duty of the European Commission so there is really nothing new in that area.

“You have to understand that importing living animals is really sensitive for any country.”

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Mr Webb then asked: “But what George Eustice, the minister, was telling Parliament that the Commission changed its position that it actually was going to allow imports to continue and has only decided now not to?”

The committee chairman replied: “Well, I don’t know if the Commission has changed its position, what I know is that I must say that I am ready to work with Mr Eustice in the same way.

“Because as a member of the European Parliament, (an issue) has been raised by an oyster producer which also happens to be a shellfish retailer (who imports) mussels and clams from the UK. 

“And as chair of the fishery committee, I wrote on January 5, unlike Mr Eustice who did that yesterday, to the European Commission to ask to review this regulation. 

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“I don’t know if what Mr Eustice is saying is right or not, the fact is that I am your best ally in this question.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice told Parliament he would get tough with Europe as the shellfish ban was believed to only be a temporary solution. 

Mr Webb continued: “If you are our best ally do you think you can win? Do you think we can win? Do you think that the situation that did exist that allowed live shellfish to be imported into the EU, do you think that situation can be refound?”


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Mr Karleskind responded: “Well, honestly, I hope we can find a solution because I really enjoy your lobster, your clams so I have no problem with the fact we have to find this solution. 

“Unfortunately, so far, the answer I received from Ms Kyriakides, the commissioner for health, was no. 

“So I am not satisfied so far with this question and the fact is that the UK waters did not become dirty on December 31.”

The UK has been banned from exporting shellfish to the EU as many are caught in Class B waters. 

Shellfish from these waters can only be exported into the EU from a third country if they have been treated in purification pools, equipment many fisheries can not afford. 

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