Great Britain and France fighting for fishing rights


French fishermen, angered by the loss of access to waters off their coast, gather their boats in protest against the English Channel island of Jersey in May 2021.
Image: DPA

The Brexit dispute between London and Paris over fishing rights in the English Channel is coming to a head. France on Wednesday evening announced, among other things, a ban on British fishing boats.

IIn the Brexit dispute between London and Paris over fishing rights in the English Channel, the British government called the French ambassador to the Foreign Office. British Foreign Minister Liz Truss said on Thursday evening that the ambassador should explain Friday’s “disappointing and disproportionate threats against Great Britain and the Channel Islands”. France had previously arrested a British fishing boat for allegedly lacking a licence.

The fishing dispute has been going on for a long time. The background for this is how many foreign fishermen will be allowed to catch in British waters after Brexit. During negotiations on the British trade deal with the European Union, this was the most controversial issue, which at times made a deal nearly impossible. On the side of the European Union, it was above all the French who were adamant – this issue has always been treated extremely emotionally and plays with centuries-old resentment against another country.

On Wednesday evening, the French government announced that from 2 November, British fishing boats would no longer be allowed to moor in some French ports. In addition, France will systematically check the safety of British yachts in the future. Therefore trucks going from France to Great Britain or the opposite direction should also be checked more closely.

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Britain criticized the announcement. Brexit Minister David Frost was disappointed. The measures would not be in line with international law or the Brexit treaty.

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