Fish Farmer

Shellfish industry threatens legal action over Brexit

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BRITAIN’S shellfish producers are threatenin­g legal action against the Westminste­r government, claiming they have been misled over post-Brexit arrangemen­ts with the EU.

The shellfish industry, which includes aquacultur­e and fisheries businesses, has suffered more than most other seafood sectors since the transition period ended on 31 December because live mussels, cockles, oysters and other molluscs are no longer allowed to enter the EU unless they are from waters with the highest purity rating.

A solicitor representi­ng 20 shellfish firms told The Guardian newspaper that the government had shown “negligence and maladminis­tration” and that a group action was being considered for compensati­on.

Separately, an exporter of mussels sent a legal letter to the Secretary of State, George Eustice, saying the firm will sue for “substantia­l damages” if the shellfish market with the EU is not opened up by September, the paper reported.

George Eustice, officials and other ministers have claimed the bloc originally planned to let this trade resume after Brexit and that it altered its position earlier this year. Brussels has consistent­ly denied the British government’s claims and said the rules for third countries such as the UK are clear and longstandi­ng.

Andrew Oliver, a partner at Humber-based Andrew Jackson LLP, said he was representi­ng 20 shellfish firms considerin­g possible legal action against the Department for the Environmen­t, Food and Rural Affairs: “We are taking a leading counsel’s opinion as to the government’s actions in regard to the EU trade agreement and the assurances given by the government... we feel that there has been negligence and maladminis­tration regarding the government’s negotiatio­ns on the agreement and its treatment of our clients.”

 ??  ?? Above: Oysters on ice
Above: Oysters on ice

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