French Navy Could Intervene in ‘Scallop Wars,’ Minister Says

(Bloomberg) -- The French Navy is “ready to intervene” to prevent further clashes between French and British fishing boats in the Channel, French Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert said on CNews.

Representatives of British and French fishing fleets are due to meet Wednesday to prevent a repeat of last week’s incidents, when about 35 small French fishing boats blocked five larger British boats from scallop fishing grounds off Normandy. No injuries were reported, though boats did collide.

France bans its fishermen from collecting scallops between the end of May and Oct. 1 to allow the species to reproduce, while British fishermen face no such limits. In addition, the French accuse British boats of using techniques that damage the sea floor.

“The correct place to resolve these is around the table, not on the high seas using flares, bottles, stones and shackles to intimidate crews,” Britain’s National Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations said in a statement on Saturday. British fisherman have called for the Royal Navy to protect their fleets.

While the clashes over scallops aren’t linked to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, reciprocal access to fishing waters is one of the many complicated issues that has to be settled in Brexit talks.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.