Jacob's wars can continue to growl as the peace talks collapse

Jacob's wars can continue to growl as the peace talks collapse

The wars of scalloping that plague the English Channel continue after the peace talks between British and French fishermen have collapsed.

In a move that Downing Street hopes will not precede the culmination of the Brexit negotiations, UK industry leaders have said goodbye without talking to their continental counterparts.

The discussions sought to arrange compensation for British boats so that they would no longer have to look for the molluscs. The French sailors are unhappy because they were banned in the summer to fish in the territory to obtain the stocks.



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Video:
September 4: French vs. Brit Channel clashes

While an industry agreement prevents British ships larger than 15 meters from cramming the scallops between May 15 and October 1, smaller boats can continue to self-supply whatever they find.

The dispute had peaked earlier this month as five British ships swept the Seine Bay with dozens of French boats, with shots ramming fishermen from both sides, Stones and smoke bombs were reportedly thrown at British ships.

Both sides would have liked to make sure that such scenes would not be repeated, but on Wednesday it was announced that the negotiations had ended without a deal.



Smoke bombs have been reportedly thrown at British and Scottish ships. Picture: Anthony Quenel



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Video:
Skirmish over scallops off Normandy

Stephane Travert, the French Minister of Food and Agriculture, said he "regretted" the failure, but added that he "welcomed" his compatriots' efforts to "demand adequate compensation."

However, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs described the French offer as "unacceptable to British industry" and warned that the government's priority was the safety of British fishermen.

"If the British fleet is legally entitled to fish in French waters, the law is clear that they are entitled to protection from the French authorities," she said.

The Scottish White Fish Producers Association acknowledged that it was "disappointing" for everyone and added, "Nobody wants to see conflicts on the high seas."

It was assumed that after the talks in London last week, a breakthrough was achieved when small British ships pledged not to fish in the dispute if they did not suffer financially.

But the compensation being sought seems to have been too high for the French, meaning that the British Jakobsfängler could well return to the territory and risk a return to the recent battles.

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