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UK and France end scallop wars with peace deal

9:57 pm, 17th September 2018

British vessels under 15 metres will continue to be able to take scallops from the waters but larger boats will stop fishing in the Baie de Seine from midnight on Monday until the end of 30 October, DEFRA confirmed.

The more than a decade-long disagreement came to a head in the early hours of 28 August as French fishermen allegedly threw smoke bombs, rocks and other projectiles at English and Scottish boats in the scallop-rich bay off the Normandy coast.

French fishermen accused the British of depleting stocks and wanted them to face the same rules which mean all French boats are banned from fishing for the molluscs during the summer to conserve stocks.

Nearly three weeks later, the neighbouring countries have come to an agreement, despite UK industry leaders walking away from talks with their continental counterparts last Thursday.

British fisheries minister George Eustice said: “Today UK and French scallop industry representatives reached an agreement on scallop fishing in the Bay de Seine.

“This means our over-15m fleet will get the days at sea it wanted, while allowing the under-15m fleet to continue fishing in the area.

“I commend the UK fishing industry for its patience throughout negotiations and welcome this pragmatic outcome.”

The French fishermen wanted all British boats to be banned for the summer period, but they failed to get the smaller boats banned.

“We were forced to drop the 15-metres requirement,” French industry spokesman Pascal Coquet said.

As a compromise for the bigger British boats agreeing to not fish for scallops until the end of October, the French agreed to give British fishermen an additional fishing quota.

Jim Portus, chief executive of Britain’s South Western Fish Producers Organisation, said it was “a compromise”.

“It’s not the best deal, but it’s better than no deal,” he said.

More to follow…