Brexit: France detains British trawler amid ongoing dispute over fishing rights

Post-Brexit fishing row escalates as French officials fine one British trawler and seize another for fishing without a license

A British fishing trawler has been seized by French authorities for fishing without a license, in a continuation of the rows over fishing rights in the channel post-Brexit.

French authorities confirmed that another boat was also cautioned and fined, following checks on vessels off Le Havre last night.

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At a glance: 5 key points

  • One British fishing trawler has been seized by French authorities and will remain in port at Le Havre on the northern coast of France until a fine is paid, as it was caught fishing in the Bay of Seine without a license
  • The French maritime minister Annick Girardin said the boat was “diverted to the quay and handed over to the judicial authority”
  • Another British trawler was given a warning and a fine, after initially resisting checks by French authorities
  • Girardin said checks of this type on British vessels are standard during scallop fishing season, but added that they had taken place “ in the context of discussions on licenses with the United Kingdom”
  • It comes after a dispute between the UK and France over fishing rights, after the UK and Jersey denied fishing licenses to dozens of French boats

What’s been said?

French maritime minister Annick Girardin, said on Twitter: “This Wednesday, 2 English ships were fined during classic checks off Le Havre. The first did not comply spontaneously: verbalization. The second did not have a license to fish in our waters: diverted to the quay and handed over to the judicial authority.”

She also said that while the checks were standard procedure during scallop fishing season , they had 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".

In a statement, Lord Frost said: "It is very disappointing that France has felt it necessary to make threats late this evening against the UK fishing industry and seemingly traders more broadly.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “France’s threats are disappointing and disproportionate, and not what we would expect from a close ally and partner.

“The measures being threatened do not appear to be compatible with the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) and wider international law, and, if carried through, will be met with an appropriate and calibrated response.

“We will be relaying our concerns to the EU Commission and French government.

“The UK stands by its commitments in the TCA and has granted 98% of licence applications from EU vessels to fish in our waters.

“All our decisions have been fully in line with this commitment.

“We also support Jersey and Guernsey’s handling of fisheries licensing decisions, which has been entirely in line with the provisions of the TCA.”