Paris talks fail to finalise deal to end English Channel scallop wars

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 8 September 2018

British and French fishermen have failed to finalise a deal to end the scallop wars in the English Channel.

Scallop fishing boats collide
© France 3 Normandie

Industry leaders were unable to agree a compensation package during negotiations in Paris on Friday, which was aiming to cease recent skirmishes.

The basis of an agreement was formed in London this week, with small UK vessels pledging not to fish in the area of dispute during the period French laws prevented their counterparts.

But this was on the basis British crews would not lose out financially, and the price appeared to have been too high for the French during the latest discussions.

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) spokeswoman said further talks could be held next week.

British ships can legally forage in the disputed territory - the Baie de Seine - all year round.

But the French are banned from taking scallops there between May 15 and October 1 to conserve stocks.

An industry accord prevented UK vessels larger than 15 metres doing so too, but smaller ones could help themselves.

However, trouble flared last week when some 35 French boats confronted five British craft off the coast of northern France last week, with reports of rocks and smoke bombs being hurled at UK mariners.

Captains of small British boats voluntarily agreed not to forage in the Baie until a deal was struck - but they had expected this to be sealed in Paris yesterday.

Whether they can continue to uphold this will remain to be seen.

The UK public have until September 12th to have their say on the new Fisheries Bill proposed in the Government’s White Paper. It could pave the way for fisheries improvements needed including management tools, such as closing areas to allow stocks to recover and remain at healthy levels.

Please support our campaign to let the government know that the new Fisheries Bill has to have sustainability at its heart.

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