French fishers are set to take action within days, including blocking road and sea freight bound for the UK through Calais and other Channel ports, as a months-long dispute over licences to operate in British waters intensifies.
French media reported on Tuesday that with talks between the two governments and the European Commission over post-Brexit fishing rights seemingly deadlocked, angry fishers in northern France would decide on Thursday what steps to take.
France says the UK has unjustly denied permits to about 150 French boats, while Britain insists it is entitled to demand whatever evidence it chooses to show that French vessels have a track record of operating in the UK’s coastal waters.
Olivier Leprêtre, the president of the organisation that represents fishers’ interests in northern France, said crews from boats operating along the Atlantic coast, in the Channel and the North Sea, from Brest to Dunkirk, would take part.
There would be no wholesale blockade of French ports, Leprêtre told a meeting of fishers in Boulogne-sur-Mer. “We are aiming more to target exports, because we don’t want to harm the French economy,” he said. “We want to affect the UK’s economy. We will do this properly – and we will do it.”
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