France seizes British fishing vessel without a license


France seized a British trawler fishing in its territorial waters without a license and issued a verbal warning to a second vessel amid a bitter dispute over access to fishing grounds after Brexit.

The French Minister of the Navy Annick Girardin indicated on Twitter that the trawler had been diverted to the port of Le Havre under escort of the maritime police.

France is furious that Britain has refused to grant its fishermen the full number of licenses to operate in British waters which Paris says are justified and yesterday announced retaliatory measures that could go into effect from November 2 if no progress is made in the talks.

These measures include additional customs checks on goods entering the European continent through the French border and banning British fishing vessels from disembarking at several French ports, the French government said.

Britain has said it has issued fishing licenses to vessels which have been able to prove that they operated in its waters in the years leading up to its withdrawal from the European Union.

Negotiations between Britain and the European Commission over the case continued this week.

Patience in Paris has dulled in the face of what French officials are calling Britain’s failure to honor its word since Brexit, overfishing and also Britain’s demand to renegotiate Ireland’s protocol of the North aimed at maintaining the integrity of the EU’s single market.

French maritime gendarmes carried out several checks on fishing vessels off Le Havre in northern France overnight, Girardin’s ministry said, as France intensifies its surveillance during negotiations.