France detains UK boat as spat over fishing rights escalates
In a spat over post-Brexit fishing rights, France has announced it will close nearly all of its ports to boats from the UK and has detained a British fishing vessel. France’s European affairs minister announced that besides a few exceptions, all of the ports would be inaccessible by British boats. The closure begins on Tuesday and only three or four ports will remain open to British vessels. Two British boats were stopped and fined on Wednesday night after security checks had begun.
One of the boats was not listed on the European Union’s list of UK fishing vessels and the vessel was diverted to the French port of Le Havre. Legal proceedings could cause the vessel’s catch and boat itself to be confiscated and the captain of the vessel may risk criminal sanctions. The UK government claims the actions are unjustified and do not agree with the Brexit agreement or international law. The other vessel was fined for not allowing French authorities to board the boat and conduct security checks. No further infractions were found on this vessel. These actions follow tensions regarding a dispute between the UK and France over the right for vessels to fish in each country’s waters after Brexit. The French measures come after the UK only granted fishing licenses to 15 out of the 47 smaller French fishermen vessels as of October 1.