Fishing businesses that have been hit by post-Brexit export problems have demonstrated outside various government departments in Westminster
Fishing exports of fresh fish and seafood from Britain have been severely disrupted by the new post-Brexit border controls since the UK’s transitionary period with the ended earlier this month.
A BBC reporter has said that more than 20 lorries have been driving up and down Whitehall in central London.
Industry associations have stressed that the extra paperwork as a result of having left the EU has made it difficult to deliver any fresh produce, such as fish and seafood, to countries in mainland Europe before the food goes off.
This comes after border officials have confiscated sandwiches and other foodstuffs from drivers arriving in the Netherlands from the UK after Brexit. A Dutch TV clip showed a driver had his ham sandwiches confiscated by border officials as he arrived – with one border guard joking: “Welcome to the Brexit, sir.”
Mark Moore, who is the manager of the Dartmouth Crab Company, has said that his business and others were protesting in order to “raise awareness” of the impact of the new border checks between the UK and Europe.
He told BBC Radio Five Live that his company had been facing delays of up to eight and a half hours when out delivering produce into countries within the European Union.
He added that the situation ” for the shellfish industry in the country was “especially difficult, where goods are at risk of going off before they reach their customers.
“It’s not about the increased documentation per se,” he said.
“We have taken that on board, and we ourselves – and I know many others – have had no issues with producing the actual paperwork.”
“It’s the volume required and the timeframe in which to produce it, which doesn’t lend itself to live shellfish and fish generally.”
This comes after the NHS is considering plans to discharge it’s patients into hotels as the nation’s hospitals become packed with COVID-19 patients, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has now confirmed, saying that it was “impossible to know” how long the nation-wide lockdown restrictions might last.
There are 24 lorries in Westminster in total, overwhelmingly from Seafood exporters in Scotland. Businesses taking part say that the Brexit trade deal has left their sector high and dry.
And although one haulier from Aberdeenshire was keen to stress that their coordinated protest was to be a peaceful demonstration, it is clear that they all feel direct action is now necessary to make the PM and his government sit up and take notice to the troubles they are having.
Good-natured though their action was, the protest did cause serious traffic congestion along Whitehall and Parliament Square for quite some time.
At stake, they believe, is an industry, but also thousands of British livelihoods. Fishing exporters say that they are backed by fishermen who are struggling to sell their catches.