French and British fishing boats clash in scallop war skirmish

French and British fishing boats clash in scallop war skirmish

French and British fishing boats clash in scallop war skirmish

The French boats gathered overnight on Monday in protest against so-called "pillaging" by five larger British vessels.

At least one French boat slammed into the side of a Scottish vessel.

"This is well beyond legal behavior".

"If we let them do what they want, they'll ravage the area", said Anthony Quesnel, captain of "La Rose des Vents", one of the French boats that took part in the effort to shoo away the British vessels on Tuesday.

One of the British vessels, The Golden Promise, had a window smashed while another suffered fire damage after a flare was thrown during the skirmishes, Mr Portus said.

The French had a "legal responsibility" to ensure their territorial waters were "appropriately policed" to allow legal fishing to continue, he added.

Under the headline "The battle for Saint-Jacques scallops off Normandy", left-wing daily Le Monde cited fishing chief Dimitri Rogoff who said that the United Kingdom would normally "be considered a third country and will not have access to these [fishing] zones" after it leaves the European Union. He said he deplored the violence.

The group Fishing For Leave said in a statement: "The break down in talks to reach an agreement on joint English channel management is regrettable for French fishermen, British fishermen, and the humble scallops".

"There should not be any brawling, that could end badly". A spokesman said: "We are aware of reports of aggression directed towards United Kingdom fishing vessels in an area of the English Channel not under United Kingdom control".

"Scallop fishery is regulated at national level and over the past years common management measures have been agreed between France, the United Kingdom and Ireland", the spokesman added.

United Kingdom boats are allowed to fish in the Baie de Seine waters most of the year but, under rules imposed by France, their own fisherman are only permitted to harvest scallops between 1 October and 15 May.

"The French nearly completely surrounded the British" who then left the area, he said, adding that there were no injuries or damage.

The clashes occurred about 12 nautical miles off the coast of Normandy, near the Bay of Seine, where French crews are restricted by their nation's laws to fishing for scallops from October 1 through May 15 season.

"It's what we want and it's what France wants and we will be working on that".

Rogoff said the root of the problem is different economic models.

Mr Rogoff said the French trawlermen wanted the visiting fleet to stay north of a line running from Barfleur in Normandy to Cap d'Antifer to the east to avoid running supplies down.

The biggest British vessels can freeze scallops on board.

The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, NFFO, condemned the "outrageous behaviour" of the French.

"If everybody dredges for scallops all year round, soon there will be none left", Rogoff said.

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