British fishermen to call for Royal Navy support after scallop clash with French

Boat crew 'feared for its safety' after coming under attack over fishing in contested waters

Forty French trawlers have clashed with five UK fishing vessels off the coast of France this week in an angry dispute over lucrative scallop fishing.

Details of the clash, in which French fishermen are said to have surrounded their British counterparts, and hurled rocks and other objects and fired flares at them, were revealed today by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

It took place in the Bay of the Seine, twenty miles off the coast of Normandy north-west of Le Havre, which is an area in French waters but one in which, the MMO said, British vessels were entitled to fish.

However, some French fishermen have blamed overfishing in their waters on British boats, and were attempting to chase the British vessels away from the area. The Channel contains some the European Union's most hotly contested fishing grounds.

The clash prompted the intervention of a French naval patrol vessel, and the issue was resolved - for the time being -  after representatives of both sides met for talks on one of the British boats.

Andy Scott, of Dumfries-based Scott Trawlers, said the crew of the scallop boat Vertrouwen had feared for its safety during the incident. "About seven vessels came into very close quarters with the Vertrouwen and tried to stop it fishing," he said.

"It tried to continue fishing at which time the French vessels started to attack with catapults, stones and nuts and bolts. The crew feared for their safety, they feared that the wheelhouse windows were going to be broken."

Mr Scott said he would be looking for Royal Navy support after incident earlier this week, in which the number of boats surrounding the Vertrouwen increased to about 30, with French crews trying to throw ropes and nets to snare her propeller.

At that point three French fishermen boarded the Vertrouwen and spoke to the skipper.

"He was able to satisfy them that he was legally entitled to fish there," said Mr Scott.

Rod Henderson, Head of Coastal Operations for the Marine Management Organisation, said last night: "As soon as the MMO was made aware of the situation, our officers contacted the French authorities and encouraged them to intervene. They did and are continuing to deal with this matter.

"It is the responsibility of the French authorities to ensure the safety of UK vessels in their waters.

"The MMO is continuing high-level discussions with French counterparts to seek assurances that these issues will not recur."

A spokesman for the French maritime prefecture said tensions flared when up to 40 French boats encircled British vessels and tried to chase them off.

"Fishermen can be quite hotheaded," the spokesman said, adding that French mediators had to facilitate talks between the sides to defuse the conflict.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas