Oh dear, Macron! French fishermen whine at ‘double punishment’ after post-Brexit spat

Fishing boom to be 'huge' for UK says expert

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Fishing chiefs in the Boulogne-sur-Mer, just over an hour from the UK’s maritime border with the EU have complained as they are yet to be granted a licence to fish in the UK’s 12-mile zone. Oliver Leprêtre, chairman of the Regional Fisheries Committee stressed the local fishing industry was more than 70 percent dependent on British waters for artisanal fishing, and 96 percent for deep-sea fishing.

He said that local fishermen had suffered from a “double punishment” when it came to fishing in UK waters since Brexit.

This, Mr Leprêtre claimed, was because of a “ban” from heading into English waters forcing them to operate at a loss.

The fishing chief also said there was “a lack of fish” in the English Channel, adding: “The French, the Dutch, the Belgians share a small space.

“There is therefore a phenomenon of overexploitation of the resource because all the boats are concentrated in the same area.

“At the moment, the fish are disappearing at high speed.”

Express.co.uk understands that officials at the UK Single Issuing Authority (SIA) responsible for licencing began to issue licences to allow EU fisheries to operate within 12 miles of the British coastline on January 29.

Since the application process opened, more than 80 licences to fish in the 12-mile zone have already been granted.

Since the UK fully left the EU on January 1st however, Mr Leprêtre claimed only 16 licences had been issued by the UK Government for a fleet of more than 150 boats.

The complaints from French fishing chiefs come amid an angry row between the UK Government and the European Union over UK shellfish exports.

The EU Commission put new measures in place on UK exports causing sour relations between Brussels and London.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said Brussels’ decision to place barriers on live UK shellfish exports was “indefensible”.

He said there is “no legal barrier” to prevent the trade, and has called on the European Commission to abide by existing regulations.

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The row led to Michael Gove saying he would not rule out blocking the approval of licences for EU vessels, including France.

Speaking in the Commons, he told MPs: “It is important that we reserve our own rights when it comes to making sure that EU lives up to its side of the bargain.”

Chief Brexit negotiator Lord Frost blamed the severely strained tensions with the European Union on Brussels struggling to accept a “genuinely independent actor in their neighbourhood”.

The peer called for the EU to adopt a “different spirit” in order to ease the “more than bumpy” relationship since the end of the transition period this year.

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