UK fishers could have been dealt a “fatal blow” after the European Union announced that shellfish exports could be banned from the bloc indefinitely.
Thousands of tonnes of oyster, mussel, clam, cockle and scallop could be barred from entering the EU because of the UK’s ‘third country’ status.
Under current rules bivalve molluscs originating from countries outside the EU that are not ready for human consumption are “strictly forbidden”. They would have previously been purified or processed in the EU before being distributed to supermarkets, restaurants and bars.
Rob Benson, director of Kingfisher Seafoods Limited, said: “Our sales have dropped off a cliff since December 31st. 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”.
He added: “This is not new EU policy. This has always been there.
“This is the government not doing their job to safeguard the industry”.