Posted on August 30, 2018 by Ashleigh Cowie
An escalating battle has begun between French and British fishermen in the English Channel. The dispute saw 5 large British boats take on 40 French fishing vessels this week.
The British boats travelled 12 nautical miles (22km) off the coast of Normandy in the Bay of Seine when 40 French ships attempted to stop them fishing for scallops.
Stones were thrown and the vessels collided during the dispute. No injuries have been reported.
UK vessels are legally able to fish in the scallop-rich area but this has angered the French fishermen who accused the British of depleting their shellfish stocks.
The French vessels gathered on Monday evening in protest against the British practice.
The Head of the Normandy Fishing Committee said: "The French went to contact the British to stop them working and they clashed with each other."
The British fishermen were chased off by the French flotilla, with some suffering broken windows. British seafarers have accused the French of throwing rocks and metal shackles.
A French local government spokesperson, Ingrid Parrot, said: "Things were thrown on both sides - from the English and from the French. Both parties were extremely tense."
The dispute centres around the differing laws in scallop fishing. British boats can gather scallops year-round, but French law restricts the scallop fishing season to between 1 October and 15 May.
Mike Park, chief executive of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association, described the clashing incident as "clear piracy". But French authorities argue that scallops are a flagship product for Normandy, so to make it fair the British should wait until October to fish there.