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French fishermen have a history of blockades in the English Channel over minor disagreements, according to Barrie Deas, the CEO of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations. He has warned they are likely to continue their actions after the UK becomes an independent coastal state and noted it would be “naive” to think they would not act if they are not happy. His comments come as the bloc wants to see the status quo maintained for fishing access and quotas, but the UK Government wants Britain to have full control of its own waters.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Deas said: “French fishermen, especially in the Channel area, have a long track record of blockading Channel ports when they’re upset about something.
“They’ve done it for much lesser reasons than the UK becoming an independent coastal state, renegotiation of quotas, even if there is access for French fishermen.
“I think it would be naive to expect that they will be happy about this or do nothing about it.
“There’s a long history of those kinds of blockades.”
Mr Deas said France takes 84 percent of the quota for cod in the English Channel while the UK is allowed only nine percent.
He explained the extortionate quotas need to be ironed out in a Brexit trade deal between the UK and EU.
He told Express.co.uk: “EU vessels have automatic access to the resource-rich UK waters.
“That’s what underpins everything, the deal from the 1970s.
“When quotas were introduced in 1983, a decade later, they reflected that original deal.
“You have situations like, in Channel Cod, the UK share of that quota is nine percent.
“The French is 84 percent.
“Celtic Sea haddock where the UK share is 10 percent and the French share is 66 percent.
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“It’s those kinds of extortions that the fishing industry wants ironed out.”
Disagreements over how to guarantee fair competition, fisheries, rules for settling disputes or the role of the EU’s top court have so far prevented progress in trade talks as the bloc seeks to tie London closely to its rules while Boris Johnson wants to cut the UK away further.
A French official said the leaders agreed that they must stick to their stance on fisheries and the so-called level playing field provisions aimed at ensuring fair competition.
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