Fishermen in the Hauts-de-France region are threatening a series of actions on 22nd and 23rd April which could paralyse ports.
The planned actions are intended to draw attention to what they see as the UK government’s bad faith in failing to abide by the terms of the agreement struck just days before the UK’s departure from the European Union.
In particular, the issue of licences to fish in the UK’s 6-12 mile zone have not been made available to French fishing vessels.
According to protest organisers Olivier Lepretre, Bruno Dachicourt and Stéphane Pinto, only 22 of the 120 fishing vessels in the Hauts-de-France region have been allowed access to UK waters, despite the terms of the agreement.
“The agreement on access to waters, granted in exchange for access to European markets has absolutely not been respected,” said Olivier Lepretre, commenting that they are facing overexploitation of fishing grounds in their home waters as a result.
“The Hauts-de-France fishermen have been patient, but now we are sounding the alarm to draw attention to the economic disaster facing the industry,” he said.
“Too many fishing vessels are not able to fish on the English side of the Channel, which they were able to do even before the European Union existed.”
He said that a series of actions have been organised for 22nd and 23rd of April to publicise the bad faith shown by the UK government.
“It does not keep any of its promises, and its incompetence and lack of preparation also affect the UK fishing industry which struggles to export its production, with complete chaos at customs points,” he said.
“This accumulation of problems is overwhelming and it is not just the fishing industry which suffers, but the whole food industry sector in the Hauts-de-France region.”