Over the last 12 months, Fell and Mangnall have both been working closely with industry bodies and shellfish aquaculture businesses in their coastal constituencies and speaking up on their behalf to bring awareness to the issues they face.
The duo hope this APPG will further raise the profile and knowledge of shellfish aquaculture in Parliament, bridging the gap which shellfish farmers feel exists between the industry and government.
Since the end of the post-Brexit transition period, many producers of live bivalve molluscs (LBMs), such as mussels and oysters, saw their European markets closed overnight. LBM exporters continue to face structural problems in the industry, with live bivalves from waters classified as Grade B by the Food Standard Agency, not being allowed to be exported live to the continent without being depurated first.
The APPG’s first meeting, held virtually, featured an introduction by David Jarrad of the Shellfish Association of Great Britain (SAGB) as well as addresses from businesses within the industry about the challenges they face. Parliamentarians were able to ask questions of these guest speakers, who included John Holmyard (Offshore Shellfish), James Wilson (Deepdock Mussels), Sarah Horsfall (Shellfish Association of Great Britain) and James Green (Whitstable Oysters).
“The new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Aquaculture brings together parliamentarians from all parties to focus on the future of the UK’s shellfish industry. At a moment of great change for the shellfish industry, it is only right we unite all those with an interest in this sector and give it the attention it deserves,” said Mangnall.
“Over the coming weeks, months and years, I hope this group will serve as representative body of the shellfish industry and provide the insight and analysis to safeguard its future in the UK. I look forward to working with local and national groups and standing up for the shell fishing [aquaculture] industry, not just of South Devon but of the whole UK,” he added.
“This is a very important sector that faces ruin without the proper attention being given to it. This isn’t just about big businesses, but thousands of family fishermen [aquaculture operators] whose livelihoods are at risk if politicians don’t reopen routes for them to sell their produce to the markets that need them. There’s never been a more important time for these issues to be discussed,” said Fell.
“The Shellfish Association of Great Britain is delighted to see the development of the APPG for Shellfish Aquaculture. The UK produces some of the best quality shellfish in the world in an environmentally benign manner. We truly hope the success of the group will give support to the industry and help unlock the huge growth potential that exists,” Jarrad reflected.
Officers of the APPG on Shellfish Aquaculture are:
- Simon Fell MP (Barrow and Furness)
- Anthony Mangnall MP (Totnes and South Devon)
- Alistair Carmichael MP (Orkney and Shetland)
- Cherilyn Mackrory MP (Truro and Falmouth)
- Angus MacNeil MP (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)
- David Morris MP (Morecambe and Lunesdale)
- Luke Pollard MP (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport)