Published: Thu, August 30, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

French and British fishermen ram boats, hurl projectiles in 'scallop war' flare-up

French and British fishermen ram boats, hurl projectiles in 'scallop war' flare-up

French ones are only permitted to do so during the scallop fishing season - which runs from 1 October to 15 May - and for over a decade, tensions have been rising with the French accusing the Brits of "pillaging" stocks.

It has been claimed around 40 French boats confronted around a dozen British vessels in the scallop-rich waters of Baie de Seine, off the Normandy coast.

The British boats were legally catching fish in global waters when they were attacked and British fisherman Jim Portus accused the French of being "precious" and hypocritical. Talks will now take place, but not before United Kingdom fishermen accused their French counterparts of "high seas piracy".

The site France 3 Normandie said the video showed the "The charge of an English ship during the clash between French and British fishermen!"

The cross-Channel clash during which British boats were attacked yesterday off Le Havre escalated today as Cornish crews accused their French rivals of stealing their crabbing gear.

The British fleet, he said, included company-owned "floating factories" which freeze and process the catch onboard.

The UK scallop industry is worth £120m and supports 1,350 jobs.

In a statement, he added: "They were fishing entirely legally, they had every right to be in those waters and we talked to the French authorities in order to ensure that we have a protocol".

But a 2016 report by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) warned that the fishing effort by France, the UK, Belgium and Ireland in the Bay of Seine was "too high".

The port side of the bow of Honeybourne III a Scottish scallop dredger in dock at Shoreham West Sussex following clashes with French fishermen in the early hours of Tuesday morning in the English Channel during a long-running dispute over the scallop

Prime Minister Theresa May called for an "amicable solution" to the row.

"That is unacceptable to me, any problem these French trawlermen have should be taken up with the authorities rather than individual fishermen trying to earn a living".

And even if their British rivals leave the bloc, France's fisheries ministry points out, that area is open to other European Union members who have the freedom to fish there all year round.

"Scallops are plentiful and they're expensive", he said.

Sheryll Murray, Tory MP for South East Cornwall, claimed Environment Secretary Michael Gove had assured her that "appropriate measures" were in place to protect fishermen.

The head of Normandy's fishing organization Dimitri Rogoff said the attack was spontaneous but acknowledged events spiraled out of control.

Jimmy Buchan, celebrity fishing skipper and business manager for the Scottish Seafood Association, said the "militant" attack had placed lives at risk and demanded action be taken to allow the United Kingdom crews to return to the waters safely today. "Scallops are a flagship product for Normandy, a primary resource and a highly sensitive issue", said Rogoff.

The clash comes following the breakdown of a deal between the warring fisherman.

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