‘Scallop wars’ appear over as French, UK reach pact on fishing.
The UK and France have reached an agreement in principle over a fishing dispute that has led to recent violence in the Channel.
In a joint statement following talks between the two governments, the UK and France said an agreement on the principles of a deal had been reached.
French fishermen have accused the British of unfairly catching scallops in the Baie de Seine during the summer, when French boats are banned by their government from doing so to protect shellfish stocks.
British boats don’t face the same restrictions and can legally do so.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the agreement is subject to a reasonable compensation package, the details of which will be defined in Paris on Friday.
In the meantime, there is a voluntary agreement for all UK vessels to respect the French closure period in the Baie de Seine.
Jim Portus, from the South West Fish Producers Organisation, told Sky News: “Until the deal is signed on Friday, we are asking them to avoid the area (Bay de Seine) for the next two days.
“Then we will see details of the deal on Friday. Quite frankly if it’s not good enough it’ll still be rejected.
“The owners of the vessels have got to know they are going to be as well-off in terms of their income from where they are allowed to fish.
“This is a small area of the English channel from which they will be excluded for about three weeks.”
Footage emerged last week of rival vessels colliding with each other and objects being thrown.
It is alleged that some French boats threw smoke bombs and rocks at English and Scottish vessels, causing damage.
The French argue that modern fishing techniques are damaging and if the area is fished all year round there will be nothing left for future generations.
They say larger boats hoover up as many scallops in a single day as smaller fishermen would achieve in a month, and want fairer rules in place.