Fri. May 27th, 2022


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On brink of collapse! Desperate French fishermen face losing jobs over access to UK waters

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It has been claimed some 80 percent of the French fleet in the northern Hauts De France region are still awaiting the licences for the 6-12 British mile zone. But the UK Government rejects the claims and stressed they have licensed 1,673 EU vessels for the UK 12-200 nautical mile zone under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU as of last month.

The regional Government, headed up by Xavier Bertrand, claims fishing in the region supports 6,500 direct jobs, including 850 seafarers and 5,005 jobs only in the processing sector and could be gone within weeks.

They argue Boulogne is the leading fishmonger in France and alone represents 30 percent of French activity.

A Government spokesperson added the “UK’s choice to leave the European Union has a direct impact on the working conditions of companies in the sector.”

The spokesperson also stressed Brexit “penalizes the contribution to the auction and the activity of processing companies.”


Politicians in the Hauts-de-France region have also announced a new emergency fund of £500,000 to dish out to fishermen due to the Post-Brexit issues.

The £500,000 fund, it is argued, will mitigate the loss of the risk of unemployment or even stoppage of activity in the fishing industry.

At the same time, a five-year action plan will also be drawn up with industry professionals to improve product marketing practices (digitization, centralization of inputs, traceability).

Ministers also admitted today the closure of key customs points in various UK ports including Peterhead, Scotland caused issues with fishermen being able to transport and sell their products in France.

Regional ministers said because of the UK’s customs controls, trawlermen are forced to land and sell their products in other auctions in Denmark, Ireland or the Netherlands.

Marie-Sophie Lesne, Vice- President of the Hauts-de-France Region in charge of Agriculture, Agrifood and Fisheries, said the region was “committed to maintaining its activity and its competitiveness” in the industry.

Ms Lesne stressed Boulogne-sur-Mer was the “leading place in the processing of fishery products in France and in Europe.”

It comes just weeks after a row erupted between London and Paris over whether France had misled the UK on providing data for licences.

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French Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin claimed the French Government had sent key licensing details to the UK Government weeks ago.

But the UK Government denied the claims and stressed the information was received late.

A Defra spokesperson, added: “Decisions on the issuing of licences will be made on the basis of that evidence and in full compliance with the TCA.”


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