Don Thompson, president of the Jersey Fishermen’s Association, has told the Express that French fishermen are allegedly plotting to stage a blockade of their ports in France on Christmas week so as to press Paris to better regulate the EU’s post-Brexit trade ties with the UK.
“We suspect the blockade will carry on for quite some time. That is just French militant disruptive tactics to pressurise their own government into taking action”, Thompson said.
He suggested that the French fishermen may also resort to “fairly aggressive tactics, burning boats or anything”.
“The French are quite militant. But the state with the resources will always win in the end”, the fishing veteran argued, in an apparent nod to the UK.
He added that the country should “never capitulate to intimidation and aggression”, but that Britain is “going to have to face that when it comes in late December and beyond”.
“The situation will change post-Brexit and French fishermen are just not going to be happy with it but they are just going to have to get used to it in time”, Thompson concluded.
EU-UK Dispute Over Fisheries
The remarks come as London and Brussels are at loggerheads over the issue of fisheries, something that remains one of the main stumbling blocks in their post-Brexit talks.
Last month, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in an interview with Sky News that the UK and EU are close to striking a deal, while at the same bemoaning the fact that Brussels wants London to be subject to its fishery rules.
“We are disappointed and surprised by the outcome of the European Council [demanding more concessions from London]. We've been told that it must be the UK that makes all of the compromises in the days ahead, that can't be right in a negotiation […]”, Raab stressed.
Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron demanded that EU fishermen continue to be given access to British waters, urging the bloc to favour the status quo, under which the period between 1973 and 1978 forms the basis of today's catches.
The British side is proposing a system whereby the two sides would agree on what percentage of shared stocks are attached to each of their European economic zones annually, based on the latest fish stock data.
With the EU and the UK currently engaged in intensive Brexit negotiations, both sides hope a trade deal can be clinched in the next two to three weeks, which can then be ratified in time for the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December.