French fishermen threaten to block Channel Tunnel, ports protest against fishing licenses

A post on Thursday from a fishing group on Facebook said they would block ferries in Saint-Malo, Calais and Ouistreham “to expose the terms of the Brexit deal and its implications for fishermen”.

The head of a fishing association told CNN that a protest would begin at 1:00 p.m. local time in Ouistreham and that 15 boats would block the harbor in the area. He said other groups would block two other areas.

The fishermen said they were sending “a warning” to demand the UK’s prompt granting of fishing licenses after Brexit.

“We don’t want handouts, we just want our licenses back. The UK must abide by the post-Brexit agreement. Too many fishermen are still in the dark,” said Gérard Romiti, the chairman of the National Commission on Sea Fisheries . according to CNN affiliate BFMTV.

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The fishing association told an online press conference that a large number of vehicles would be used to block access to the Eurotunnel, which is used to transport goods by rail between Britain and France, according to Reuters.

The British government responded Thursday, saying it was “disappointed” by threats of protests by French fishermen.

“We are looking to the French authorities to ensure that there are no illegal actions and that trade is not affected,” said a Downing Street spokesman. “We licensed a total of nearly 1,700 EU vessels; our approach to licensing was reasonable and fully consistent with our Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) commitments.

“We will continue to work with the Commission and the French authorities and will consider any further evidence in support of the remaining license applications.”

The protests represent the latest round of tensions in a long-running dispute between the UK and France over the rights of French and British vessels to fish in each country’s waters after Brexit.

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