Scallop war fears as talks fail


THE threat of further clashes between British and French scallop fishermen has surfaced again after the two sides failed to reach agreement at the weekend.
Despite day-long talks in Paris on Friday, leaders were unable to agree a compensation package deal for British fishermen.
The fishermen had said they were prepared not to fish in the area between mid-May and the end of September, the period which is closed to their French counterparts.
But this was on the understanding that UK vessels would not lose out financially. Now there are worries that they may go back to the disputed Baie de Seine area off the Normandy coast unless there is a speedy solution to the problem.
And this time they could face the French navy even though they are fishing legally.
Derek Meredith, the owner of South West Trawlers, called the compensation offered for keeping out of the area ‘an insult’.
‘The English boats have lost thousands of pounds now,’ he told Sky News. ‘For nothing in return, as expected.’
However, a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) spokeswoman said further talks could be held later this week.
‘We are making progress. Discussions are continuing and we are looking at next steps,’ she said.
French crews claim that UK boats are damaging shellfish stocks during the four and a half month period in which they are not allowed to fish.
This led to ugly clashes ten days ago when up to 40 French boats confronted half a dozen UK vessels, driving them out of the area by hurling rocks and smoke flares at them.
Picture: Clashes in the Channel last month (photo: BBC)


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