Boris Johnson faces legal challenge from enraged fishermen over ‘devastating’ EU deal

UK and EU agree new £333 million fishing deal

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Fisherman Nicki Holmyard spoke with ARTE Documentary and revealed she is launching a legal challenge against the UK Government as her business has been locked out of European markets. She says she spoke with Government officials who promised her that trade would be uninterrupted as she put faith in the Government to fix Brexit. But Ms Holmyard was furious when she found out her shellfish exports would not be allowed into the European Union and has collated evidence to launch a legal bid.

She said: “I think we got £6,000 which was like a slap in the face.

“It doesn’t cover anything, we’re not looking for compensation we want our trade reinstated.”

She has been unable to export mussels to Europe for five months following Brexit due to the shellfish restrictions against the UK. 

Before, she was able to have her Class B water caught mussels purified in Holland but they now have to be purified before entering the bloc. 

The European Union does not allow the live import of shellfish which have been caught in Class B waters from third countries. 

The majority of British waters are classed B meaning oysters, mussels and other live shellfish require purification before entering the EU. 

Around 9 in 10 mussels die in the purification process – severely limiting their shelf life – with many UK businesses not having space or tools to carry out the purification at home. 

Ms Holmyard runs a family mussels business for more than 20 years and attacked the Government’s £23million compensation fund to businesses affected by the new trade rules.

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She continued: “We don’t have facilities here, we don’t have any room to build them.”

Ms Holmyard was informed that exceptions to the new export rules would include her and other businesses like her but it never materialised. 

She is now considering a legal challenge against the Government.

The fishing boss added: “If we take them to court it will be on the grounds of giving us misleading information since July 2019.

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“Which was when they first started to reassure us that everything would be alright with Brexit. We have many verbal conversations, we have emails from them saying don’t worry trade will continue.

“We have a lot of evidence and it is our life’s work and it is absolutely devastating.”

Fisherman Martin Laity spoke to BBC Radio 4 and explained: “Mussels would not survive purification and the transit.

“If I exported that to France now – 90 percent of that would be dead on arrival. From day one, 100 percent of our turnover was lost.

“It is insulting when ministers stand up and say ‘it’s just teething trouble’ which we have heard now for a long time.”

Scottish fisherman Jamie McMillan also revealed he was drowning in paperwork to export to the EU as exports are often delayed so the right paperwork can be filled out and processed.

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