Un “warning shot”. French fishermen, who still have no news of their fishing licenses in British waters, due to the post-Brexit conflict between London and Paris, have decided to strike hard and set up a mobilization on Friday 26 November. The French national fisheries committee announced the blocking on Friday of access to three Channel ports and to the Channel tunnel for goods.
“We don’t want handouts, we just want our licenses back. The UK must abide by the post-Brexit deal. Too many fishermen are still in the dark ”, declared Gérard Romiti, the president of the national committee during a press conference.
“We’ve been waiting for eleven months with your mouth open”
Fishermen will block the arrival of ferries at sea in three Channel ports: Saint-Malo, Ouistreham and Calais. On land, they will also block the access of freight trucks to the Channel Tunnel freight terminal for a few hours. “We’ve been waiting with our mouths open for eleven months. The patience of professionals has limits. We hope that this warning shot will be heard, ”added Gérard Romiti, excluding“ no action ”in the future.
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This movement is a response to the “provocative” and “humiliating” attitude of the British. “This licensing issue is the tree that hides the forest: its resolution will depend on long-term relations with the United Kingdom,” he warned. While questioning the robustness of the European commitment alongside EU fishermen, he welcomed the “ultimatum” launched on Wednesday by the European Commission, which asked London to settle this dispute by 10 December.
Under the Brexit agreement signed at the end of 2020 between London and Brussels, European fishermen can continue to work in British waters provided they can prove that they were fishing there before. But the French and the British argue over the nature and extent of the supporting documents to be provided. In total, since 1is January 2021, France obtained “more than 960 licenses” for fishing in British waters and the Channel Islands, but Paris is still asking for more than 150 authorizations, according to the French Ministry of the Sea.