A warning of widespread disruption to the movement of goods and people has been expressed by the chairman of North Devon Fishermen’s Association after the seventh round of trade negotiations collapsed into another stalemate. The EU is still adamant that the UK needs to complete a deal on fisheries and the level playing field before any progress can be made on other areas of the trade deal. This leaves the no-deal a high possibility outcome.
John Balls, chairman of North Devon Fishermen’s Association, said: “they (french) will blockade the ports and they will hold up lorries on the UK side.
“The M20 on the approach to Dover will end up as a car park.
“It’s always the French who blockade the ports.
“That will happen. That is something that the French are very good at.
“They’ll blockade not just the shellfish or finfish being moved around, they will blockade, and that will stop everything being moved from flowers to meat to vegetables. All perishable goods plus people as well.”
Mr Balls said Britains should avoid any trips between Calais and Dover in the first few weeks of 2021 as the “mad marauding fishermen” will be wanting to send a strong message to the UK.
He continued: “They know they’re not going to get what they want.
“If there were a compromise, it still wouldn’t be good enough for them.
“They want to have their cake and eat it.
“They know that they hold the volume of quota for the Channel fish and they are not going to want to reduce that 84 percent which they hold.
“There will be an upset. The French fishermen always have their little day in court.”
The chairman of North Devon Fishermen’s Association has been holding weekly meetings with DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to discuss concerns that the North Devon fisherman have as the transition period nears.
He added: “We’ve got to have that access into Europe and also Europe has to have access to us.
“We can’t go down the road of having a tit-for-tat and having stupid volumes of levies put on the movement of a product. It’s not going to do anyone any good.
“We know the French, Spanish and Portuguese customers want the product which they have been used to for the last 20-30 years.
“So there’s a lot of support for the UK product and what the French fishermen are concerned with is basically is being pushed out of the waters where they’ve been fishing.”
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