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.
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.
JUST IN: BBC warning as millions over 75 refuse to pay license fees with fury over ‘broken promises’
“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. »
READ MORE: Brexit veteran recalls price of QUADRUPLING butter after UK joins EU
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. “