French fishermen warn British blockades could target Christmas supplies.
French fishermen who have lost their right to fish in British waters are planning a blockade that could start as early as Friday.
The fishermen plan to target Christmas supplies imported into the UK, pledging to block Calais, Dunkirk and the Channel Tunnel if necessary.
A dispute has broken out over the UK government’s refusal to grant French fishermen many licenses to work in UK waters after Brexit.
A fisherman, Laurent Merlin, told the story the BBC that they are “in a constant state of fear and anger,” adding, “We’ll wait until Friday and then we’ll start organizing for the attack.”
From the French port of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Mr Merlin said: “We will cause as much disruption as possible by blocking the things that Britain needs most.
“We’ve seen, [impact of the]Lack of gas; We’ll try to create another shortage of something else. We are ready to block everything: Calais, Dunkirk, the Channel Tunnel. We need this fishing license and will do everything we can to get it. “
Local fisheries committee head Benoit Firmin said that if the blockade continued, it would likely target Christmas supplies and go beyond the port in Boulogne.
He made fun of the UK supply chain crisis and said, “We haven’t even blocked and we are already short of food, gasoline and staff.”
He added, “Are we going to make things worse? Maybe, but there is a lot of frustration in the community, so fair enough. “
The EU reportedly tried to ease tensions last week by asking the French government to calm its rhetoric about the fish range.
However, on Tuesday France gathered its European allies and issued a joint statement calling on the UK to ensure “continuity” for French fishermen after Brexit.
France urged the UK to “respect the Brexit deal”, arguing that Britain’s request for small fishing boats to provide historical geolocation data is “not provided for in the deal and not required by European regulations”.
The statement goes on to say: “We therefore urge the UK to act immediately and carry out further technical work in accordance with … the agreement.”
Olivier Lepretre, President of the Regional Fisheries Community in Hauts-de-France, said the obligation on fishermen to prove their presence in UK fishing grounds between 2012 and 2016 was very difficult.
Many smaller boats did not have tracking devices at that time.
“We feel like the bat between Europe and Great Britain,” he said.