| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Britain could board more French boats in fishing dispute – UK minister

As a post-Brexit fishing dispute worsened, Britain could order the boarding of more French vessels in retribution for France’s arrest of a British scallop trawler in French waters, according to a British minister.

Later on Friday, Britain’s foreign minister summoned France’s ambassador to London to explain Paris’ actions.

“Obviously, we have the option of increasing the enforcement that we undertake on French vessels, to board more of them if that’s what they’re doing to our vessels,” British Environment Secretary George Eustice told BBC television.

“Other administrative requirements for vessels are possible. It’s not something we want to get involved with.”

The Cornelis Gert Jan, a scallop dredger, was escorted to the northern port of Le Havre after its crew failed to prove it was allowed to fish in French territorial waters, according to French officials.

Eustice said London’s focus for now was trying to resolve the issue with the European Commission and with France’s ambassador to London.

“We obviously reserve the ability to be able to respond in a proportionate way, ” Eustice said.

France has listed potential sanctions against Britain if there is no progress in talks, including extra customs checks on British goods from Nov. 2 and what was seen in London as a threat to cut electricity exports to Britain if talks fail.

French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie told France 2 TV on Friday that there was no progress in talks between France and Britain over post-Brexit fishing licences, and said it was right for France to consider sanctions against the UK.

  • Reuters