July 30, 2021

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Brexit: the threat of a “no-deal” hangs over French fishermen

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It is two in the morning on Laurent-Geoffrey leaves the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer. Direction British waters that the skipper and his sailors will take two hours to reach. These men practice artisanal fishing, pots and nets are brought up by force of arms, often in difficult conditions. But the prospect of no longer having access to resources on the English side in the event of a “no-deal” worries them, they who spend 70% of their fishing time in British territorial waters.

Prohibiting this area from fishermen could lead to the disappearance of many crews because 30% of French fishing comes from English waters. Finally, the resource, increasingly weak on the French side, would be insufficient to make everyone work, especially as Belgian or Dutch boats, European therefore, would also fall back on French waters, increasing the pressure on the resource.

Among the fishermen of the Channel coast, it is not yet time for resignation until the ax has fallen. But the fateful date of December 31 is approaching and negotiations between Brussels and London to reach a free trade agreement before the end of the year are at an impasse after a European summit on Thursday October 15 where the 27 demanded concessions from London.

But the United Kingdom, through the voice of its Prime Minister Boris Johnson, opposed them this Friday to an inadmissibility, threatening to leave the ship with a “no-deal” which would mark the introduction of quotas and rights of customs and would block de facto access to British waters for European fishermen.



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