In Brief

Scallop wars: French fishermen attack British boats in English Channel

Stones and smoke bombs thrown in clash over French fishing rules

French and English fishing boats have clashed in a violent skirmish off the coast of Normandy, amid rising tensions over a row about the fishing of scallops.

Around 35 French fishing boats appeared to surround five UK vessels in a stand-off early on Tuesday morning, with rocks and flares thrown, says Sky News.

One boat is believed to have crashed into another, and some of the British vessels reportedly returned to UK harbours with signs of “criminal” damage.

The altercation took place in Baie de Seine, a region of the English Channel where British boats are allowed to fish most of the year. However, France has imposed rules that mean its own fisherman are only able to fish there between October and mid-May, to allow scallops to breed and thereby preserve stocks.

French fisherman in the region have accused their British counterparts of depleting fish stocks during the summer months, and have called for UK fisherman to be subject to the same laws.

ITV News reports that one French fisherman said if they “leave them [the British] to it, they will finish the sector”. Another added: “We have quotas, we have hours. They have nothing.

“They start working a month before us. And, they leave us the crumbs. What we want, is that they come and scrape at the same time as us. In October, like everyone. And, that way there will be no problems.”

Normandy fishing chief Dimitri Rogoff said: “The French went to contact the British to stop them working and they clashed with each other. Apparently, there was stone-throwing but no injuries.” 

British and French fishermen have been arguing about the issue for the past 15 years, leading to angry disputes that have been dubbed “scallop wars”, The Guardian reports.

According to Rogoff, the row would be resolved, albeit inadvertently, in the event of a no-deal Brexit - which would see UK fishermen entirely prohibited from the waters. He added: “After 29 March 2019, they would be treated as a third party and would no longer have access to these areas.”

Recommended

What will Sue Gray’s report reveal?
Boris Johnson
Today’s big question

What will Sue Gray’s report reveal?

When will the Elizabeth line open?
The Elizabeth line entrance at Liverpool Street station in London
In Focus

When will the Elizabeth line open?

Caroline Watt: where is Rebekah Vardy’s missing agent?
Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice
Profile

Caroline Watt: where is Rebekah Vardy’s missing agent?

Will Ukraine invasion trigger a global food security crisis?
Harvest in Ukraine
In Focus

Will Ukraine invasion trigger a global food security crisis?

Popular articles

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths
Vladimir Putin has previously deployed ‘extreme measures’ to crush opposition
Why we’re talking about . . .

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?
Vladimir Putin
Why we’re talking about . . .

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?

Depp v. Heard: what the latest battle has revealed
Amber Heard
In Depth

Depp v. Heard: what the latest battle has revealed

The Week Footer Banner