Boris Johnson blames restaurant closures for post-Brexit fishing disruption

Hauliers descended on Westminster this week to protest against Brexit red tape (Image: Getty Images)

Get our daily coronavirus email newsletter with all the news you need to know direct to your inbox

Sign upWhen you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. OurPrivacy Noticeexplains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy noticeInvalid Email

Boris Johnson has blamed restaurant closures due to coronavirus for problems with fish exports after Brexit.

The Prime Minister admitted British fishermen were facing barriers at present but sought to blame "a decline in appetite for fish in continental markets" as restrictions across Europe mean many restaurants are shut.

Seafood exporters have been hit by red tape and checks since the UK severed ties with the EU at the start of the year.

Peterhead fish market in Aberdeenshire, the largest in Europe, has been turned into a "ghost town" by Brexit, an industry boss warned this week

Hauliers also descended on Westminster this week in protest, demanding more support for the sector.

Boris Johnson was challenged over his pledge that fishermen would not be swamped in post-Brexit red tape

Read More
Related Articles


  • Mirror Politics newsletter – the e-mail you need to navigate a crisis-hit UK

Read More
Related Articles


  • Boris Johnson accused of 'abandoning global moral leadership' by Theresa May

Mr Johnson was challenged over his promise that fishermen would not face new export barriers or unnecessary form-filling after Brexit by Labour's Ben Bradshaw.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Johnson said: "It is absolutely true that some British fishermen have faced barriers at the present time owing to complications over form-filling and indeed one of the biggest problems is that, alas, there is a decline in appetite for fish in continental markets just because most of the restaurants, as he knows, are shut.

"The reality is that Brexit will deliver and is delivering a huge uplift in quota, already the next five years, and by 2026 the fishing people of this country will have access to all the fish in all the territorial waters of this country."

He promised fishermen an "El Dorado", with £100million to improve boats and fishing processes.

Industry bosses sounded the alarm this week over the challenges facing the industry.

(Image: PA)

James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink, tweeted images of the empty fish hall at Peterhead.

He said: "Europe's biggest fish market in Peterhead like a ghost town. Built to deal with 10,000 boxes/day but with a few hundred.

"Boats tied up, exporters crippled. No Brexit image of lorry queues, it's the sight of trade that isn't moving at all."

Seafood Scotland chief executive Donna Fordyce welcomed the announcement of "short-term assistance" from the Government but warned more was needed.

"Money will offer a much-needed sticking plaster covering the losses over the last few weeks, but to completely staunch the wound, the sector still needs a period of grace during which the systems must be overhauled so they are fit for purpose," she said.