Scallop row London talks to find ‘amicable’ solution

Scallop row London talks to find 'amicable' solution

Talks will be held in London later in a bid to resolve tensions between French and British scallop fisherman.

The British fish producer organisation will meet with their French counterparts and Defra officials to try and find a solution.

Around 40 French boats clashed with five UK craft last week in a row over scallop fishing off northern France.

British crews said rocks, smoke bombs and other projectiles were hurled at them during the confrontation.

French agriculture minister Stephane Travert said on Tuesday that France’s navy was ready to intervene to prevent further clashes.

He told French broadcaster CNews We can’t keep going on like this. We can’t keep having skirmishes like that.

The French navy is ready to step in if more clashes break out, as well as carrying out checks.

UK boats are entitled to fish in the scallop-rich area of the English channel, 12 nautical miles (22km) off the Normandy coast, in the Bay of Seine.

However, their presence has angered the French, who have accused the British of depleting shellfish stocks.

Environment secretary Michael Gove says the UK boats were fishing legally and that it is for the French to take any steps needed to prevent violence in the area.

Mr Gove said last week These are French waters, it’s the responsibility of the French to ensure that those who have a legal right to fish can continue to fish uninterrupted.

While Defra says there is no ministerial involvement in today’s talks, Downing Street has said both sides are hoping for an amicable solution from the meeting between officials and industry representatives.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s official spokesman said The important thing is that there are talks taking place between the two sides.

I think everybody – ourselves and the French government – is hoping that this will reach an amicable outcome.

The French boats gathered overnight on Monday last week in protest against so-called pillaging by five larger British vessels.

The British were chased away with two boats, Golden Promise and Joanna C, returning to Brixham harbour with damaged windows.

The British crews say they had been surrounded and had rocks and metal shackles thrown at them, but French police said UK boats responded in kind.

A video published by French media shows a Scottish scallop dredger, the Honeybourne 3, colliding with French vessels.

News Source BBCNews

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