Trapped in the nets of Brexit, English fishing boats see their exports to the EU plummet


It’s a nice catch … but this month its value has plummeted by half.

Euronews reporter Luke Hanrahan is on board an English fishing boat, he asks the skipper:? Would you have voted for Brexit if you knew this?

Simon Driver He is no longer so clear and answers:

“I think if we knew this was going to happen, I honestly think it would have been different, people would have voted differently, fishermen would have looked at things differently.”

Dave’s family and his son Simon, have been fishing in these waters off the Devon coast since the 16th century.

They saw Brexit as a unique opportunity to correct – what they saw – as the mistakes of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.

Now they feel cheated by Boris Johnson.

The father, Dave Driver if indignant:

“They kept babbling that ‘yes, fishermen are going to have a better life, more fish, control of our waters.’ I think that made a lot of people vote for Brexit. And it didn’t work, did it? People who voted in the hope that the fishing industry would benefit, they were lied to! All that propaganda on the London buses: ‘We are going to fight for the fishing industry.’ They have not fought for our sector at all. ”

Catch certificates and customs declarations have caused delays at the border, meaning that European buyers reject their catches because they take too long to arrive.

Luke Hanrahan: “The reality for crews like this is that since the beginning of January they have been making hundreds of pounds less every day they go out to sea. This is directly related to the problems at the border, which have made, in the worst case scenario “The fish rot before it can cross the English Channel. There is anger and confusion throughout the fishing sector, against the Government.”

To make ends meet, Ben Vass has had to lay off two crew members and has transformed his boat, which last month was dedicated to catching fish for the European market, and now is dedicated to catching whelks , freezing them and exporting them to Asia.

Ben Vass:

“Brexit has made it very difficult for our products to leave the country. All the EU countries that used to buy a lot of our fish, have stopped doing so because the fish that was being transferred was spoiling. So we have lost our entire market of export”.

Some 12,000 people work on UK registered fishing vessels.

Many now feel that they face an uncertain future, such as Nathan Daley:

“80% of our sales are sent to the EU, so obviously now everything has stopped. Our prices have come down. All of our fish is frozen. It is rubbish, it does not make sense at the moment.”

The British government says it is working closely with the fishing industry and the EU, to address the problems caused by the added documentation, and that it will provide financial assistance to those affected by the delays.


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