France warns UK to ban British fish from EU market if Brexit bans access | Politics | News


France has emerged as one of the main obstacles to concluding a new fisheries agreement that will be rolled out at the end of the Brexit transition period in December. President Emmanuel Macron has insisted that he will not allow a British decision to seriously affect the livelihoods of French fishing fleets. Olivier Leprêtre, president of the Fishermen’s Union of Northern France, warned that European Union fishermen could strike back at British vessels and prevent the sale of British fish in the EU market.

Asked whether France could retaliate if the vessels were kept away, Mr Leprêtre laughed, saying: “If the French fishermen cannot go to British waters, we will be in a complicated situation.“Because their catch is going to be sold here and the fishermen here say they won’t allow British fish to be sold on the European market. ”

Xavier Leduc, whose trawler Klondyke operates in one of France’s largest fishing ports at Boulogne sur Mer, said “100%” of his fishing was in British waters.

Mr Leduc said: “We do 100% of our business in UK waters.

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“British fishermen must also have access to the European market and European fishermen must retain their fishing rights. ”

The boss of the Merchants’ Union, Georges Thomas, also rejected discussions on the distinction between fish caught in British waters and fish living around the French coast.

Mr Thomas said: ‘The fish spawn on the French coast, then they move into deeper water and UK waters are deeper.

“Then they move up there.” So really, there are no French or British fish. »

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He said: ‘From our point of view we need to move away from this asymmetric and abusive arrangement that was set in the 1970s, reinforced in the 1983 quota sharing agreements and worked to the systematic detriment of the UK. since. ”

“I think everyone will be worse off without a deal.

“A trade deal works for everyone, there are member states that are very vulnerable to a no deal as well as the UK. It was the EU that made the artificial link between trade and fisheries. ”

Mr Deas added: “I think there will be a deal, but this deal has to recognize that things have changed. Under international law, the UK will be an independent coastal state.

“The political price to sacrifice the fishing industry again would be extremely high for them, they admit. “


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