Cornwall for Europe, the campaign group for Cornwall and the UK to remain in the EU, have claimed that the fishing industry and a local MP have been misled. They have been given an expert briefing by solicitor Sarah Adkins which, they believe, makes it clear that there will be huge problems exporting Cornish fish to France and the rest of the EU.
Their Spokesman Charles Boney said: ‘It is clear from Sarah’s report to us that Mr Gove’s reply to a Cornish MP is misleading. The way that fish will be traded under ‘no deal’ will be far more complex than his bland assurances suggest.
An exchange between Derek Thomas MP for St Ives and Michael Gove the minister in charge of Brexit preparations smoothes over the threat to the future of the Newlyn fishing industry. Despite assurances by Mr Gove that measures have been taken to “to ensure fish and shellfish products caught in the UK today can be sold in the EU tomorrow,” investigations by Cornwall for Europe show that the picture could be one of chaos in the vital export trade to the EU, which accounts for £7 in every £10 worth of fish landed in Newlyn, Cornwall’s biggest fishing port.’
‘Sarah’s information is clear: ‘As a direct consequence of leaving the Single Market Cornish Exporters face a blizzard of paperwork and delays, relying on decisions by EU Border Inspection Posts to waive the required 72 hour prior notifications for each shipment with every consignment requiring a costly Export Health Certificate as well as a catch certificate and customs declaration.’ She explained that all shellfish exports will have to enter France at Caen and fishery produce travelling through the Channel Tunnel will be sent to the Border Inspection Post at Boulogne for import inspections. ‘Although Roscoff will be a Border Inspection Post after Brexit, Cornish fish that is now exported seamlessly via the ferry will face significant new red tape and cost’
Charles Boney added: ‘It seems that the Government will do anything to achieve any deal or no deal, however bad for Cornish fishing and farming. Fishing could well be hit as badly as Agriculture, which is facing massive trade barriers including over 40% tariffs on many meat products with no clear promises about how farmers will be supported. Mr Gove claims that fish caught today will be sold in Europe tomorrow – for Cornish fish we believe this is just untrue and we are surprised the MP representing Newlyn seems reassured.’
Sarah Adkins also reports that there are issues about signing off the export health certificates for fish and other animal products – Vets or Environmental Health Officers – and she says:
‘Each exporting establishment must be approved by EU and there is now insufficient time for this process if there is no deal. Defra have been unable to provide any reassurance about this. Until UK establishments exporting produce of animal origin – including fish – have been approved (at least a 30 day process following EU approval of the UK as a 3rd country exporter) they are prohibited from exporting to the EU. The Prime Minister’s promise in the USA to make the most of de-regulation may impact the terms on which the EU approve the UK as an exporter to it’.
Cornwall for Europe run street stalls across Cornwall every week, organise meetings and marches to rally support for our EU membership. Howard Farmer, who helps run the organisation said: ‘We have already filled two coaches for the massive demonstration in London on 19th October and are booking extra ones so that people from all over the County can come with us to show how they feel about the current crisis.’