UK’s shellfish fishermen fear losing their homes over post-Brexit export ban

Full extent of trouble facing fishing industry laid bare

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Shellfish fishermen in the UK revealed that many fear for their future as a result of the post-Brexit European Union ban on their exports.

Since Britain left the EU on January 1, 'Class B' oysters, scallops, clams, cockles and mussels can’t be sold to the EU unless they’ve been purified in accordance with water regulatory standards.

One fisherman told British broadcaster Sky News the situation is so bad they’re at risk of losing their homes.

“If I’d never put money in the bank and my wife wasn’t working, I think we’d be out of a house,” said Tim Heard, 65, an oyster fisherman for 50 years.

The UK government on Sunday said that it would make extra financial support available to the industry, expanding eligibility criteria to include catching and shellfish aquaculture businesses.

"Our fishermen are at the heart of many of our coastal communities and we recognise the impact of coronavirus and the end of the transition period on them," Environment Secretary George Eustice said.

"This expansion of our £23 million ($32.2m) support package will ensure many more businesses can benefit from government support.”

Increasing financial aid alone won't appease the UK's shellfish fishermen, who in January parked their lorries draped in protests outside the Houses of Parliament.

They are urging the government to contest the ban, with Sailors Creek Shellfish-owner Martin Laity among those seeking “direct answers”.

“Get a move on, sort it out, get some stamina, get over to Europe, sort it out,” he said.