'Scallop wars': Attempt to strike deal to end conflict between fishing fleets sunk as sides fail to agree

Captains of small British boats agreed not to forage in the disputed territory until an agreement was reached

Sam Blewett,David Hughes
Saturday 08 September 2018 12:58 BST
French and British fishing boats clash in scallop war skirmish

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

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.

“We are making progress,” she said. “Discussions are continuing and we are looking at next steps.”

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 15 May and 1 October 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, 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 on Friday.

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


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