It was said in London that these French fishermen could not prove that they had been hunting in the area before, as agreed. But according to Paris, the British violated the agreements: they unexpectedly demanded GPS data from small French boats and fishermen who had no GPS equipment.
“I haven’t been so lucky,” says fisherman Luke Rammet. “I bought a new boat a while ago. But the British issued a license to my old boat, because I was fishing in British waters with it. And the fisherman who bought that boat from me is very happy: he can fish there. But I’m not allowed into British waters with my new boat.”
Various protest actions
In May of this year, French fishermen boarded the Channel Island of Jersey in their first protest. British authorities sent two patrol ships there. Then the French government intervened. Diplomatic pressure was escalated on the British, but there was no move on the matter.
Therefore, the past month has been enough for the government of President Macron. The British were given an ultimatum. If they do not reach concessions before November 1, punitive action will follow. France will close six French ports to British fishermen. The French will carry out an extensive examination of British ships and trucks at sea and on the road.
As the deadline approaches, tensions escalate. The French have already arrested two British fishermen off the coast of Le Havre, and one of them with the Dutch name “Cornelis-Gert Jan” was arrested.
Still consultation, no penalties
Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson discussed the issue a week ago at the G-20 in Rome. Then it was decided to sit around the table again. “As long as we negotiate, we will not impose sanctions,” Macron said.
The parties went on to talk, a number of new permits are still being issued, but no solution has been found. “We have shared our views and our concerns,” British Prime Minister David Frost said last week. “Dialogue is possible, but there are still important differences of opinion,” French Foreign Minister Clement Bonn said.
It is now unclear how many permits the French still need. Minister Girardin said in Parliament she was waiting for 27 permits: 14 from Britain and 13 from Jersey. Then there are the temporary permits, which France wants to convert into permanent ones, and there are an unknown number of young French fishermen who have seized boats from fishermen who used to fish in British waters: London and Paris do not agree on their fate either.
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