French fishermen want Britons to fish more fairly

September 6, 2018  

The French argument is more a moral one than legal – they say the British should operate with a little more fair play.

19:27, UK,

By Mark Stone, Europe correspondent in Normandy

“Ah … j’ai envie de dire que c’était la faute des deux….” fisherman Yannick Quenea tells us as he lays out his catch in the Normandy port of Ouistreham.

He is saying that the so-called scallop wars are the fault of both sides.

“It’s the fault of both sides because the English come over here to fish for scallops before the start of the season and the French then defend their patch.

“It’s completely normal, but we can’t have such extreme violence because we’ll then end up with people getting killed.

“Fortunately this time it ended peacefully, but it’s serious… we’re talking about the survival of a whole profession.”

He and his fellow fishermen are glad that the industry leaders on both sides have held talks with politicians.

Yannick is fairly pragmatic.

His good humour summed up by a gesture in the background of one of our live broadcasts from the port side.

Yannick is also somewhat good natured too though it seems, judging by his actions (with a smile) behind my live report 😂

His humour isn’t shared across this community though.

Some French fishermen have insisted they will be back out on the water to defend the scallop haul from British trawlers.

The British fishermen are doing nothing illegal by catching scallops off the French coast.

As long they are more than 12 miles off the French coast – which puts them out of French territorial waters, then there is no legal issue.

The problem exists because the French have a law which restricts when their own fishermen can catch scallops.

They can’t be caught over the summer period; the season resumes on 1 October.

However, that law doesn’t apply to fishermen from other EU countries.

And so, with their larger trawlers, the British are perfectly entitled to fish for scallop in the Bay of Seine as long as they are not within the 12-mile French water zone.

The French argument is more a moral one than legal. They say the British should operate with a little more fair play.

The shellfish stocks, they say, are depleting, especially with the British using large industrial trawlers, hence the French seasonal ban.

They believe the Britons should adhere to the seasons too.

The French fishermen are now forcing the issue with blockades and, claim the British, projectiles lobbed at the UK boats.

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