French fishermen plan to block Channel Tunnel over post-Brexit fishing licence row


French fishermen have tried to block the Channel Tunnel and the port of Calais tomorrow in protest of the UK’s failure to issue fishing permits since Brexit.

Members of the Fisheries Association say many vehicles have blocked the canal used to transport goods on the railway line between Britain and France.

London and Paris are embroiled in controversy over the number of visas issued by the UK to French boats to allow them to fish in British waters since the UK left the European Union.

Image:
Two Royal Navy ships were sent to protect Jersey from being blocked by French naval vessels in May. Photo: Michael Bewley

France – and its fishermen – say more permits should be issued and frustration is growing. UK insists it respects what has happened after Brexit.

“This is a testament to the quality and ability of skilled fishers to come together in response to the UK’s seductive, derogatory and shameful views,” said Gerard Romiti, President of the National Maritime Fisheries Committee.

A Downing Street spokesman said the government was “disappointed by the threat of protests”.

He added: “It will be a matter for France to ensure that there are no restrictions and that trade is not affected. We continue to monitor the situation.”

This was not the first time that French fishermen had taken direct action.

In April, they blocked fish trucks from British waters to a factory in France.

And the British navy sent two patrol boats in May French boats docked at Saint Helier port in Jersey.

France and the UK also exchanged blames for the deaths of 27 migrants who drowned as they tried to cross the Channel in a boat blast Wednesday.

A Port of Dover spokesman said he was aware of the potential for “a short period of turmoil in France”.

The man added: “The port will be open for business as usual, and will try and implement plans that can address the temporary disruption of road operations if any.

“We encourage departing customers tomorrow to find more time on their trip and to contact a designated boatman to find out the latest.”


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