The Franco-British dispute “another kick in the teeth” for the Scottish fishing industry – .

The Franco-British dispute “another kick in the teeth” for the Scottish fishing industry – .

The fishing industry is being treated as “collateral damage” by the British government in a post-Brexit dispute with France, according to the SNP.
Shell trawler Macduff Cornelis Gert Jan has been impounded by France amid accusations it was fishing in the country’s waters without a proper license.

The diplomatic storm was sparked by the threat of sanctions from France for what it sees as a refusal to issue licenses to its trawlers to operate in British waters.

There is no breakthrough in talks between the two countries yet, but Downing Street has said he is confident France will not resume threats to increase checks or block British ships in French ports. in the coming days “.

Request for responses

SNP spokesperson for Defra Deirdre Brock wrote to UK Environment Secretary George Eustice to seek clarification on the issue that led to the arrest of the ship belonging to northeastern France and urging it to set the record straight on who is responsible for issuing licenses.

SNP Defra spokeswoman Deirdre Brock has written to the UK government for answers.

The MP said: ‘This is another example of Scotland paying the price for a Brexit we did not vote for – and again it is our fishing industry that is a pity collateral in a dispute caused by the UK government.

“The responsibility for licensing rests with the Marine Management Organization (MMO) and therefore it is DEFRA’s duty to get to the bottom of this.

“A week has passed and the UK government is still unable to provide us with answers as to why the scalloper appears to have removed the list of authorized vessels.

“The UK government has been everywhere on this issue – ignoring its responsibilities and spreading false information.

The UK will hold further meetings on post-Brexit arrangements.

“It’s absolutely not enough when we had a Scottish schnitzel and its crew held in France.

“The Secretary of State needs to immediately clarify what caused this problem in the first place. “

Ms Brock claimed members of the industry were forced to ‘reconsider visits to their usual fishing grounds’ during the normally busy pre-Christmas period and said’ the whole debacle was just another kick in the teeth of the Scottish fishing industry ”.

Liberation of a Scottish ship

The scallop dredge registered in Scotland left the port of Le Havre in northern France on Wednesday evening after being detained there for last week.

Speaking earlier this week, Cornelis skipper Jondy Ward explained that French maritime police arrested the trawler last week for not being listed on a European register while fishing off the coast of Normandy.

Cornelis Jondy Ward’s skipper is preparing to leave France after a court hearing. Photo: PA

He added that he did not know if it was a mistake on the part of British or French officials, but said the boat was “certainly” caught in the middle of the Franco-British dispute over the agreements. post-Brexit fisheries.

British Fisheries Envoy and MP for Banff and Buchan, David Duguid, said: ‘It is quite predictable that the SNP has sought to turn recent events into its obsession with constitutional issues, instead of seeking to support our fishing and seafood industry.

“Because this matter is under investigation, I am limited to what I can say specifically, but I am happy to see that the scalloper and his crew have been released. “

He urged the SNP to work with the UK government to “help remedy the situation, rather than using this unfortunate incident to try to score political points.”

Brexit Minister Lord Frost and French Minister for Europe Clément Beaune held talks on Thursday in a bid to ease tensions.

After the meeting, the prime minister’s official spokesperson said the French government has assured it will not immediately reinstate threats as talks continue.

The UK government has insisted that the overwhelming majority of license applications have been granted.

Paris insisted that strict measures remain “on the table” if an agreement cannot be reached.

A Defra spokeswoman said: “The control and enforcement of ships is a routine activity and we condemned the measures taken by the French in this matter.

“As this case is the subject of ongoing legal proceedings, we are unable to comment further. ”


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