France has warned that European fishermen could possibly intervene to stop British fishes from being sold on the European Union market if Britain tries to prevent EU vessels from fishing in the UK waters.
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France is leading the move against British post-Brexit fishery proposal to the EU which has remained one of the major issues preventing a deal between the EU and the UK even as the end of the transition period date is fast closing.
French President Emmanuel Macron has insisted he will not allow the UK decision to affect the livelihoods of French fishermen. Olivier Leprêtre, the president of the Fishermen’s Union Northern France, warned European Union fishermen could retaliate against British vessels and stop UK fish from being sold in the EU market.
When asked if France could retaliate if vessels are kept out, Mr Leprêtre laughed as he said: “If French fishermen can’t go into UK waters, we’ll be in a complicated situation. Because their catch goes to be sold here and fishermen here say they won’t allow British fish to be sold on the European market.”
Xavier Leduc, whose trawler Klondyke operates out of one of France’s biggest fishing ports in Boulogne sur Mer, said “100 per cent” of his fishing is done in British waters. “We are doing 100 per cent of our activity in British waters. British fishermen also need to have access to the European market and European fishermen need to keep their fishing rights,” Mr Leduc said.
Merchants Union boss Georges Thomas also said there is no distinction between British fish and French fish, saying, “Fish is reproducing on the French coast and then it moves into deeper water and British waters are deeper. So they move up there. So, really, there’s no such thing as French or British fish.”
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Post-Brexit trade negotiation between the UK and the EU have continued notwithstanding both sides refusing to agree on key issues like fishery and governance.