French and British fishing boats clash in fight over scallops

French and British fishing boats clash in fight over scallops
French and British boats clashed Tuesday morning on the Channel in an ongoing dispute over scallops.
Fishermen threw stones and vessels crashed into each other over 22 nautical kilometres out to sea off Calvados, France, where British fishermen are legally allowed to work year-round.

However, French fishermen are only allowed to fish for the molluscs between 1 October and 15 May, due to rules imposed by Paris.

The British were heavily outnumbered by around 5 to 35, according to the French Maritime Prefecture.

Tensions mounted between fishermen overnight from Monday into Tuesday until they came to a head.

“We’ve got to try and expel the English because if we leave them to it, they will finish the sector,” Anthony Quesnel, Captain of La Rise des Vents fishing boat, told France Television.

The maritime prefecture, which sent a boat to the scene, reported “altercations between French fishermen and British fishermen” but no injuries.

“About 40 boats from Port-en-Bessin, Courseulles, Ouistreham, Trouville, Honfleur, Le Havre, sailed through the night to denounce the British fishermen who plunder the scallop deposit,” Normandy fishing chief Dimitri Rogoff said.

Relations between French and British scallop fishermen have been strained for as many as 15 years.

For the last few years, partial agreements have been reached between the two sides but not this year.

“In the end, it paid off, because they left,” said Quesnel, “but as our colleagues would say, we won the battle, but we haven’t won the war.”

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