Video of the incident broadcast by France three Normandie confirmed smoke bombs and rocks being thrown at British crews, whereas plenty of boats gave the impression to be rammed.
The 5 British boats, drastically outnumbered by an estimated 35 French vessels, had been chased from the scallop-rich Baie de Seine space off Normandy, maritime official Ingrid Parot instructed AFP.
The skirmish happened 12 nautical miles off the Normandy coast the place British crews are allowed to fish all yr spherical, whereas their French counterparts are restricted to a shorter harvesting season from October 1 to Might 15.
“The French went to contact the British to cease them working and so they clashed with one another. Apparently there was stone-throwing, however no accidents,” Normandy fishing chief Dimitri Rogoff was quoted as saying by AFP.
The French really feel British fishermen try to deplete shares earlier than the beginning of the harvesting season. “For the Brits, it is an open bar — they fish when they need, the place they need, and as a lot as they need,” Rogoff instructed AFP.
The issue has grown worse over the previous 15 years as British boats have elevated their catches significantly.
“We do not wish to cease them from fishing, however they might a minimum of wait till October 1 in order that we are able to share,” Rogoff mentioned.
Whereas the 2 sides have reached agreements over the previous 5 years, the French blocked a deal this yr, he added.
There’s additionally frustration from French fishermen that the British use larger trawlers, a few of that are double the scale and still have the power to freeze scallops on board.
“Scallops are a flagship product for Normandy, a main useful resource and a extremely delicate difficulty,” Rogoff mentioned.
Britain’s Nationwide Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations has urged calm and mentioned any variations ought to be resolved by negotiation.
“Now we have raised the matter with the British authorities and requested for cover for our vessels, that are fishing legitimately,” Chief Govt Barrie Deas instructed the BBC. “The deeper points behind the clashes ought to be settled by speaking across the desk, not on the excessive seas the place folks could possibly be damage.”