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Several people fined following London protest over Brexit fishing deal

Metropolitan Police confirmed that 14 people had been issued with fines after a protest this morning.

Police speak to shellfish export truck drivers as they are stopped in London
Police speak to shellfish export truck drivers as they are stopped in London
Image: Alastair Grant via PA Images

SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE been issued with fixed penalty notices (FPN) after a protest over the Brexit fishing deal in London.

Metropolitan Police confirmed that 14 people had been issued with fines after a protest this morning.

Seafood hauliers descended on roads near 10 Downing Street in response to the issues they have faced in exporting seafood to the EU, saying they were being “tied in knots with paperwork” by the Brexit fishing deal.

Exports of fresh fish and seafood have been severely disrupted by delays since the UK’s transition period ended on 31 December.

The new checks and paperwork has been causing massive delays for the industry since the UK left the European Union, with seafood producers growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of government action.

Lorries transporting freshly-caught produce have been held up at distribution hubs and many have struggled to enter into France.

A spokesman for the force said: “Police are aware of a protest in Westminster relating to the UK fishing industry – an appropriate policing plan is in place.

“We would remind those involved that London remains in Tier 4 for Covid restrictions and anyone breaching the regulation will be reported.

“No arrests occurred, but a number of lorries have been stopped and 14 people, who were either drivers or passengers in those vehicles, have been reported via FPN for Covid-related offences.”

Yesterday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab claimed the delays were just “teething problems”, adding: “I’m not convinced that that is the result of the agreement.”

Some Scottish fishermen have taken to landing their catch in Denmark to avoid the “bureaucratic system” that exports to Europe now involve.

A spokesperson from Eyemouth-based DR Collin & Son, who were taking part in the protest, said: “The industry is being tied in knots with paperwork requirements which would be easy enough to navigate, given that companies have put in the time and training in order to have all the relevant procedures in place for 1st January 2021.

“However, all the training is going to waste as the technology is outdated and cannot cope with the demands being placed on it – which in turn is resulting in no produce being able to leave the UK.

“These are not ‘teething issues’ as reported by the government and the consequences of these problems will be catastrophic on the lives of fishermen, fishing towns and the shellfish industry as a whole.

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Alasdair Hughson, Scottish Creel Fisherman’s Federation chairman, said: “It is inevitable that the UK Shellfish industry would want to make its voice heard loud and clear on this matter.

“After the year that all of these businesses have had, struggling to survive against the odds, now faced with this situation, to now find themselves being blamed for not completing forms correctly when they are all just trying to follow Government guidelines which are unclear and changing all of the time.

“If this debacle does not improve very soon we are looking at many established businesses coming to the end of the line.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer accused the government of trying to blame fishing communities for the issues caused by Brexit.

Keir said: “They are beyond frustrated, they are pretty angry about what’s gone on because the Government has known there would be a problem with fishing and particularly the sale of fish into the EU for years.

“It didn’t prepare for it and now it is doing the classic thing of the Government, which is trying to blame the fishing communities rather than accepting it’s their failure to prepare.”

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