Malicious EU shellfish ban “doesn’t make any sense” says top MEP

Pierre Karleskind, a top French MEP in charge of the parliament’s fisheries committee, has told the BBC that the Brussels ban on live shellfish exports from the UK “doesn’t make any sense” because “UK waters didn’t become dirty on December 31 at midnight”.

Karleskind took the chairmanship of the committee last year and worked as a professional oceanographer before becoming an MEP in 2019. He’s a member of Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche!, making his criticism of Brussels policy all the more unexpected and damning.

His remarks come a day after the UK’s environment secretary George Eustice refused to rule out boarding EU boats in British waters to make sure they were following UK rules.

He was replying to a Cornish MP who called on him “to start the necessary and frequent boardings on EU vessels in our exclusive economic zone to ensure that they comply with UK laws. If we disrupt their fishing activity, so be it, but we must show the fishing industry support and also provide details of the promised financial support without which our industry will not survive.”

Eustice has come out strong today too, demanding that the EU “abide by their existing regulations and not seek to change them.”

He said: “It’s quite unexpected and really indefensible that the European Commission made clear only last week that they were going to change their policy on this and, as things stand, put a ban on the trade altogether.

“Whereas previously they’d been clear that this is trade that could continue, and all they needed to do was design the right export health certificate.

“The truth is there is no legal barrier to this trade continuing, both on animal health grounds and on public health grounds – there is legal provision within existing EU regulations to allow such trade to continue from the UK.”