French fishermen block UK access to local ports — Analysis
French fishermen have blocked British vessels from accessing the ports of St. Malo and Calais in a protest over UK authorities “withholding” their licenses.
Two French ports were blocked by boats adorned with posters calling for the UK’s change of policy on Friday morning. Others were closed later in the day.
Protesters also prevented British trucks from passing through the Eurotunnel Freight Terminal.
“We don’t want handouts, we just want our licenses back,” the president of France’s National Committee of Fishermen, Jean Luc Hall, explained at a press conference announcing the fomassnews.coming action on Thursday.
The committee said fishermen would temporarily block the arrival of ferries in a few important terminals such as St. Malo, Ouistreham and Calais, as well trucks at the Channel Tunnel freight terminal for “a few hours.”
“This coordinated action is designed to demonstrate that we are able to stop ports and block the Channel Tunnel to cripple the UK’s economy,” Hall said.
A source close to The Independent claims that about 150 French-owned boats remain unlicensed to fish in British waters. He confessed that fishermen felt “You are humiliated” by becoming “Political hostages.”
VIDEO – In Calais, French fishermen stop ferry traffic going to England. pic.twitter.com/tZz11uWHgw
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) November 26, 2021
A Downing Street spokesperson expressed the UK government’s disappointment over the protests, as well as hope that French authorities would ensure “To ensure that trade does not get disrupted, traffic must flow free..”
Current tensions between the UK and France have been prompted by French fishermen’s claims that the UK is withholding a significant number of licenses in violation of post-Brexit agreements. Britain refutes the allegations and insists on proper quota data from fishermen to get licenses.