In a statement posted to a fishermen’s group on Facebook on Thursday, they said they would block ferries in Saint-Malo, Calais and Ouistreham “to denounce the conditions of the Brexit deal and its consequences for fishermen.”
The head of a fishermen’s association told CNN that a protest would begin at 1 pm local time in Ouistreham and that 15 boats would block the port in the area. He said other groups would block two other areas.
Fishermen’s “warning” reaches the Eurotunnel
The fishermen said they were sending “a warning” to demand the swift UK granting of post-Brexit fishing licenses.
“We don’t want handouts, we just want our licenses back. The UK must abide by the post-Brexit deal. Too many fishermen remain unanswered,” said Gérard Romiti, chairman of the national sea fishing committee, according to CNN affiliate BFMTV.
The fishermen’s association told a virtual press conference that a large number of vehicles would be used to block access to the Eurotunnel, which is used to move goods by rail between Britain and France, according to Reuters.
UK government is ‘disappointed’ by protest
The UK government responded on Thursday saying it was “disappointed” by threats of protests from French fishermen.
“We hope that the French authorities will ensure that there are no illegal actions and that trade is not affected,” said a Downing Street spokesman. “We have licensed almost 1,700 European Union vessels in total; our approach to licensing has been reasonable and fully in line with our commitments in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (ATT).”
“We continue to work with the Commission and the French authorities and will study any other evidence that is provided to support the remaining license applications,” he concluded.
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.