Owner of first lobster tank business in Europe's largest shellfish port forced to close 'due to Brexit restraints'

The owner of the first lobster tank business in Europe’s largest shellfish port has revealed he has been forced to close, alluding to Brexit restraints as the main reason.

Baron Shellfish Limited, based in Bridlington, East Yorkshire is to close its doors after 40 years of exporting lobsters and crabs to the EU.

As a schoolboy, Sam Baron worked alongside his father to set up the first lobster tank business from scratch. Over the years the business grew alongside Bridlington Harbour, which became the biggest shellfish port in the UK.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Making the closure announcement on Saturday, Mr Baron said: “Baron Shellfish Limited took advantage of the common market, increasing business by selling direct to customers in the EU. This meant we could competitively buy from our fellow merchants at Bridlington, making us more of a dispatch centre to the EU. This in turn meant the costing of conditioning, grading, packaging costs etc were kept in the UK. As you can appreciate this meant more of the revenue created by the live lobsters stayed in the UK.

Bridlington Harbour is the largest shellfish port in Europe.

“It is now with deep sadness in my heart I write to inform you that I’ve had to let my business head over rule my heart and bring Baron Shellfish Limited to closure.

“At this time we would like to thank all our customers and all those who have helped us through the years for their support.”

The Yorkshire Post previously highlighted how concerns are mounting that many businesses in the region will abandon international trade in the face of increased bureaucracy and administration caused by the UK’s divorce from the European Union.

Leader of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Coun Richard Burton said although it is very early days, it is “very concerning” a business has had to close down because of “issues surrounding Brexit”.

He said: “There is an element of disruption going on and I am currently talking to business leaders and fishermen to establish whether this is short term disruption or if it is a longer term problem.

“We are very concerned and we are and will be making enquiries as we want to ensure fishing and the shellfish industry remain at the heart of Bridlington. It is a thriving industry for the town and we want to make sure it stays that way. and keep a very close eye on it.

“The new Hull and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership will have a look at this issue and make a point of talking to the Government. It is early days but we need to make sure all parties are involved to get a speedy solution.”

The Government stressed it is committed to ensuring that businesses get the support they need to “trade effectively with Europe”.