Brexit red tape forces main Yorkshire lobster exporter to shut down
A pioneer exporter who sold lobsters to Europe from the Yorkshire coast has been forced to liquidate his 40-year-old family business – due to Brexit paperwork.
Sam Baron, who worked alongside his late father to create Baron Shellfish in Bridlington, said he had to let his “business manager win his heart”.
The company, the first lobster tanker company in Europe’s largest shellfish port, is believed to be the first major exporter to announce its closure.
Baron, 58, who had worked in the fishing industry since he was a schoolboy, cited the extra costs and paperwork associated with Brexit as the reason it was shutting down.
New regulations came into effect on January 1 regarding live exports to the EU, with a requirement for additional checks and documents.
It was cited in The Guardian as saying, “It’s all about Brexit – the extra costs, the extra paperwork and the extra gamble – and it’s up to the government and the EU.
“Every time you send a transport with lobster, it’s like playing Russian roulette with five balls in your gun.”
Announcing the closure, he said the company was able to “profit from the common market, increasing its business by selling directly to customers” while Britain was in the EU.
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“This meant that we could buy competitively from our fellow merchants in Bridlington, which made us a shipping hub to the EU.”
Over the years, the business has grown alongside Bridlington Harbor, which has become the UK’s largest shellfish harbor, and has sold UK catches to mainland Europe.
Within the common market, the company sold to countries such as Spain, Belgium and Italy.
He added: “There is an element of disruption going on and I am currently speaking to business leaders and fishermen to determine if this is a short term disruption or if it is a longer term problem. ”
It comes as Environment Secretary George Eustice has said Brussels’ decision to place barriers on UK live shellfish exports is “untenable”.
Eustice insisted that there were “no legal barriers” to prevent trade and called on the European Commission to comply with existing regulations.
The introduction of new controls and red tape since the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31 has disrupted exports of fresh fish and seafood to the EU.
Producers have expressed frustration at the government’s lack of action, while last month seafood haulers protested the Brexit fishing deal by stacking trucks in central London.
Eustice said the Commission changed its position last week, and that before that, “they made it clear that this is a trade that can continue”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Tuesday: “We wrote to the Commissioner yesterday, we had a dialogue with them.
“The truth is that there are no legal obstacles to the continuation of this trade, both for animal health reasons and for public health reasons – there are legal provisions in existing European regulations. to allow this trade to continue from the UK.
“We are simply asking the EU to respect its existing regulations and not seek to change them.
“They changed their position last week – prior to that they had made it clear that this is a trade that can continue – so we want to work to understand why they are proposing a change at this point.
He said the UK hoped it could resolve the issue with the EU and “get them to comply with their own regulations”.
French MEP Pierre Karleskind, who chairs the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, said today Brexit was to blame for these problems, but said they made no sense.
“I have no problem with the fact that we have to find this solution.
“I’m not happy with this question so far and the point is UK waters didn’t get dirty roulette December 31st at midnight so it really doesn’t make sense.
“Except that we have to find a way to be sure in the long term that we have the assurance that what we import from the UK meets the high standards of quality and sanitary quality for our consumers.”
The government’s £ 23million compensation scheme for the fishing industry is now open.
The UK-wide Seafood Disruption Support program will help businesses that suffered a loss due to export issues in January, providing up to £ 100,000 per business.
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