As of: 10/28/2021 8:50 a.m.
For months, France and Great Britain have been arguing over fishing licenses for the English Channel. The dispute is now coming to a head: France threatened specific sanctions and arrested a British boat.
In the fishing dispute with Great Britain, France arrested a British fishing boat that was apparently sailing in French waters without a permit. The cutter was accompanied by the French coast guard in the port of Le Havre, now the judiciary is taking over the case, tweeted the French Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin. There was a fine in the room and the confiscation of the catch. Another boat had been warned because it did not respond immediately to requests from the coast guard, the minister said.
The background to the dispute is the issue of fishing licenses. Paris complains that the British authorities are not granting French fishermen enough permits for their waters in the English Channel. As a result of Great Britain’s exit from the EU, an agreement was signed between London and Brussels, according to which European fishermen are only allowed to continue fishing in British waters with a permit. In order to obtain a license, a fisherman must prove that he was previously active in these waters. The British authorities have already issued 210 permits. But France is demanding 244 more.
France increases pressure
The argument only came to a head on Wednesday evening. The French government spokesman Gabriel Attal had announced after a cabinet meeting that British fishing boats would no longer be allowed to call at certain French ports from Tuesday if Britain did not give in by then. In addition, “systematic customs and health controls for landed (British) products” are to be introduced. Trucks driving from France to Great Britain or in the opposite direction should therefore also be checked more closely. For the future, further measures would be worked out, it said from the ministry.
At the center of the dispute is the area around the British Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey. Attal reiterated the threat that France might reconsider the electricity supply to Jersey.
Sharp criticism from Great Britain
Britain sharply criticized the French threats. “They are disappointing and disproportionate and not what one would expect from a close ally and partner,” said a government spokesman. Paris appears to be violating the agreed trade agreement and international law.
British Brexit Minister David Frost wrote on Twitter: “It is very disappointing that France considers it necessary to threaten the British fishing industry and, it appears, traders in general, late in the evening.” He will now seek clarification in Paris, and he is also considering “what measures we should take in view of this information”.
Fishing dispute off Jersey – France threatens sanctions from next week
Sabine Wachs, ARD Paris, October 27, 2021 2:55 p.m.