Angry French fishermen threaten UK imports – EURACTIV.com

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Fishermen in northern France have threatened to disrupt British imports in an attempt to increase pressure on London to grant them more licenses for British waters.

Britain agreed on Saturday to issue 23 more licenses to French fishermen, a move aimed at easing tensions between neighbors who have been at odds on the issue for six months.

But France believes it will be entitled to around 80 more British licenses and a group representing fishermen in the key port of Boulogne-sur-Mer and others along the north coast said on Saturday evening they would launch protests.

“We can expect demonstrations … demonstrations that will target British imports,” said the local fishing industry group CRPMEM for the Hauts-de-France region in a statement sent to AFP.

The group said its members were “exasperated” by the announcement of only 23 new licenses and felt “betrayed” by the European Commission, which could launch legal action against Britain over the matter.

The CRPMEM said the protests would be “in line with the blockades of ports in Brittany, Normandy and northern France which took place on November 26”.

Fishing boats briefly blocked ferries and other boats at Calais, Saint-Malo and Ouistreham that day, while vehicles were also dispatched to disrupt traffic seeking to use the Channel Tunnel rail link.

France and Britain have clashed several times this year over fishing as well as migrants crossing the Channel, post-Brexit trade deals and the sale of submarines to Australia.

London briefly deployed two gunboats in May when dozens of French trawlers gathered off the Channel Island of Jersey to protest licensing issues, prompting France to send two coastal patrol boats.

On Saturday, the UK issued 18 licenses to EU vessels to access UK territorial waters and 5 licenses to EU ships to access Jersey waters, the European Commission said in a statement.

“A number of vessels seeking access to the waters have not yet received a license,” the Commission statement added, adding that Brussels “will examine the legal circumstances of each requested license that has not been granted”.

Conflict over fishing: France promises to “continue the fight”

Maritime Minister Annick Girardin told fishermen on a trip to northern France that the executive “will not give up at all” in the fishing license dispute with the British government.

A few days earlier, Girardin had announced “plans to exit the fleet” …

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