With some French fishermen not being given licenses to enter British waters, Fishermen in France have been awkwardly positioning their vessels and anchoring their boats in shipping ports which have blocked trade crossing between UK and France.
The French fishermen have been lobbying the EU Commission to award additional permits to European fishing boats. Andrew Simmons of Al Jazeera English covered the fishing controversy over the weekend.
“The day of protests started after boats plied stormy seas to reach French ports, just before they arrived some ferries made sure they left port ahead of time,” Andrew Simmons stated.
“The trawlers removed to set up blockades, the main one here in Calais, each protest lasted only one and a half hours.”
“Half a dozen boats here,” Simmons said, “but enough to stop ferries from entering or leaving the harbour.” Throughout the protest, one French police patrol boat was there.
“The dispute is about post Brexit rules on licenses for the French to fish in UK waters.” Simmons came to a conclusion.
“What we are waiting for from Boris Johnson is for him to unblock the deal that he himself signed, nothing more,” said Fishing Union Leader Olivier Lepretre, explaining why the UK’s trade route is being disrupted.
“The goal for both the president and the prime minister was to work towards de-escalation,” French President Emmanuel Macron said earlier this year at the G20 conference.
The lack of cooperation between the UK and France has prompted the French to take action of their own accord in an effort to bring about change.
“At least then the fishermen will be able to continue working together, right now it’s blocked,” Lepretre said.
“some of the fishing protestors say the UK is destroying livelihoods,” Simmons said in his article.
“I am 35 years old I have 20 to 25 years ahead of me in this business. Tomorrow they could take away my license,” said Maxime Prevel, one of the fisherman who took part in the demonstrations at sea. “I love my job, and I want to make a living from fishing. I don’t want to be paid to stay at home.”
“The fishing protests weren’t confined to the sea,” Simmons said in his article, “they also blocked road freight from entering the channel tunnel causing long tailbacks.”
“Their action on land sends out the same signal as blocking seaports, that unless Britain eases its rules on fishing licenses, then there will be more disruption to trade.”
“Fishing in France may only represent a small part of the economy, but the government is steadfast in backing resistance it sees as a breach of the Brexit deal on trade,” Simmons stated.
Protests like these, which have the potential to negatively impact people’s livelihoods, are not uncommon in France.
“Talks between governments on both sides of the Channel are still deadlocked, and there are threats from the French government to stop British fishermen from using its ports to unload their catches and cross border freight could be held up by intensified customs checks,” he said.