French fishermen threaten to block Channel tunnel, ports protest fishing permits
A post Thursday by a group of fishermen on Facebook said they would block ferries to Saint-Malo, Calais and Ouistreham “to denounce the terms of the Brexit deal and its consequences for fishermen.”
The head of a fishermen’s association told CNN that a protest would start at 1:00 p.m. local time in Ouistreham and 15 boats would block the region’s port. He said other groups would blockade two more areas.
The fishermen said they were sending “a warning” to demand the UK’s swift granting of post-Brexit fishing licenses.
“We don’t want any freebies, we just want our licenses back. The UK must respect the post-Brexit agreement. Too many fishermen are still in the dark,” said GÃ©rard Romiti, chairman of the national committee for the sea ââfishing, according to BFMTV, a subsidiary of CNN.
The fishermen’s association said at an online press conference that a large number of vehicles would be used to block access to the Eurotunnel, which is used to transport goods by rail between the Great Brittany and France, according to Reuters.
The British government responded on Thursday by saying it was “disappointed” by threats of protest from French fishermen.
“We expect the French authorities to ensure that there are no illegal actions and that trade is not affected,” a Downing Street spokesperson said. âWe have authorized around 1,700 EU vessels in total; our approach to licensing has been reasonable and fully consistent with our commitments in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (ACT).
“We continue to work with the Commission and the French authorities and will consider any further evidence provided in support of the remaining license applications.”
The protests represent the latest round of tensions in a long-standing dispute between the UK and France over the rights of French and UK vessels to fish in each country’s waters after Brexit.