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December 21, 2020

UK travel ban hits seafood exports


Jason Holland  

With a growing number of countries introducing bans on people and goods arriving from the United Kingdom because of concerns about the spread of a new variant of coronavirus, the seafood industry has warned that businesses and livelihoods are now at risk.

On the evening of Sunday, 20 December, France shut its border with the U.K. for 48 hours, meaning that no trucks or ferries could sail from the port of Dover. Meanwhile, India, Hong Kong, Canada, Switzerland, and Germany have suspended flights from the U.K., with more countries announcing their intention to follow suit.

Seafood Scotland Chief Executive Donna Fordyce said that Sunday’s French border blockade could not have come at a worse time for the nation’s seafood industry, with many companies depending on this week to replenish financial reserves before the oncoming months of Brexit disruption.

“The seafood sector is hanging by a thread, and this latest blow is beyond devastating; 21 and 22 December are the busiest days of every year, as Europe traditionally enjoys premium seafood as part of their Christmas Eve celebrations. This week was to be the shining light between a horrendous 2020 and a looming Brexit transition. Many companies have been working flat out for a week to fulfill massive orders from Europe,” Fordyce said. “Much of the seafood to fulfill these huge orders has been caught or landed and is either on the road or was about to be. Seafood companies and processors have purchased millions of pounds worth of catch for orders that won’t now see the market and being highly perishable, it can’t be shelved or stockpiled. The companies will take the hit of the spoiled goods, and some may not survive long enough to see whether insurance pays out.”

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