Edwin Jenkinson’s Louise Kelly: Brexit still causing issues for UK shellfish exporters

Edwin Jenkinson Ltd. Director Louise Kelly said Brexit has bifurcated the U.K. shellfish sector.

“Some people are doing really well. And for others, it's very, very difficult. It's very mixed bag,” Kelly told SeafoodSource at the 2023 Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona, Spain.

Brexit has had a substantial impact on shellfish exports from the United Kingdom, bringing significant additional costs and paperwork. The shellfish export sector’s current problems were recently highlighted by The New York Times, which tracked a shipment of crab and lobster from Scotland’s Isle of Mull, Scotland to France. Along the entire supply chain, time and costs have been added by the increased logistical challenges caused by the U.K.’s separation from the European Union.

“Brexit is torment – it’s horrendous,” PDK Shellfish Managing Director Paul Knight said, estimating it has resulted in GBP 150,000 (USD 187,000, EUR 170,000) in annual added costs.

Costs have also risen for French importers – by about 20 percent, according to Frédéric Gire, the owner of Taverne de la Marine, a seafood restaurant in Rennes, France, who buys product from PDK Shellfish.

For Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England-based Edwin Jenkinson, which exports brown crab (Cancer pagarus) and European blue lobster (Homarus gammarus) to Europe and Asia, the disruptions have been minimal.

“If you were prepared and put in the hard work, and if you are liaising closely with your transport companies regularly, it’s OK,” Kelly said.

But Kelly attributed some of that success to luck.

“If you can access a hub where you can get all the certification, you're fine. And if you can access a health officer who is willing to work with you, you're fine,” she said. “But if you can’t get those things, it can be a bit more time-consuming. And smaller companies in more rural areas were generally hurt worse because of those disadvantages.”

The U.K. bivalve sector has been the hardest-hit by Brexit’s economic impact, Kelly said, despite some work on regulatory fixes and government financial support. She called on the U.K. government to do more to help the country's shellfish farmers and exporters.

“It's just very unfair,” Kelly said. “This can easily be solved. Businesses want to make this work – businesses always want make it work. So it's got to be political.”

Photo by Cliff White/SeafoodSource


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500