UK boat detained by France amid fishing rights row

Posted by News Express | 29 October 2021 | 621 times

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•The seized British trawler



A British trawler has been seized by France and another has been fined, amid an escalating row over post-Brexit fishing rights.


French maritime minister Annick Girardin said the ships were cautioned during checks off Le Havre overnight.


She said the first did not comply right away and the second was not allowed to fish in French waters so was detained.


No 10 said it was watching events closely and wanted France and EU talks but was ready to respond appropriately.


Earlier, the environment secretary said he was "urgently" investigating the situation in relation to the detained vessel - which has been named as the Cornelis Gert Jan.


Responding to an Urgent Commons Question from the SNP, George Eustice said the boat was on a list provided by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) initially provided to the European Union.


He insisted the European Union did grant a license to the vessel but it was "unclear" why, according to reports, it was subsequently withdrawn from the list.


Mr Eustice said he was awaiting further details from Marine Scotland and was expecting a response in the "next hour or so".


Deidre Brock, the SNP's environment spokesperson, said it was not good enough that the environment secretary had so little information.


MacDuff Shellfish of Scotland, which owns the Cornelis, said the crew of its vessel were "in good spirits" after it was "ordered into a French port while legally fishing for scallop in French waters".


The captain was questioned after leaving the boat with French authorities and being given legal representation by the company.


MacDuff Shellfish confirmed the captain had been released and returned to the ship, but the Cornelius was "not at liberty to leave" the port while the investigation was ongoing.


The firm's Andrew Brown said the crew would remain on board until its release.


He said Macduff's "fishing activity [was] entirely legal" and it appeared the Cornelis, based at Shoreham, in West Sussex, had been "caught up" in the ongoing UK-France post-Brexit fishing row.


Mr Brown warned that without "a speedy resolution", the vessel's catch could be confiscated by the French authorities, and called on the UK government to "defend the rights of the UK fishing fleet."


The firm would "vigorously defend" itself against any claims, but its "priority concern" was for the welfare of the vessel's crew,” he said.


Ms Girardin had said on Twitter the trawler was found to be fishing in the Bay of Seine without the proper licenses.


The minister said checks on the British vessels were standard during the scallop fishing season.

But she added they had also been undertaken against "the backdrop of the tightening of controls

in the Channel, in the context of discussions on licenses with the United Kingdom and the European Commission".



Source: News Express

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