Brexit? What a load of Scallops!
Last week a deal was finally reached to bring peace between the two sides of the British channel. Hostile French fisherman attacked British boats with insults, rocks, smoke pellets, and petrol bombs at the end of August just twelve nautical miles off the coastal stretch of Normandy. A tense two weeks later and all has been resolved. Although boat captains have vowed to fight back should they find themselves in the same treacherous waters. Although an agreement has been drawn up it has yet to be signed.
Captain Anthony Quesnel, returned to land after a night at sea with almost a tonne of Sole, Plaice, and Mackerel. But alas, abiding by the French rules and regulations, there wasn't a scallop in site. This is due to their breeding season which will last until the beginning of October. There's a shared opinion that both British and French should operate under the same rules when it comes to fishing for scallops. However, in the past, the UK government has imposed nothing of the sort and there is no similarity to the restriction on the fishing vessels from either country. Which Quesnel thinks therefore only justified the attack last week. In an attempt to defend their livelihood, he believes that the British won't be returning to the same patch.
In recent years a truce has been kept the peace at bay at what can be a field of battle. Small British boats were granted rights to fish all year round. With an agreement that the larger vessels being banned up until October until the end of the breeding season. Over the years the number of smaller vessels crossing the Channel has grown drastically. With the looming verdict of Brexit, this has caused tension between the two sides. Both trying to haul larger catches. This year, the French requested that the British boats stay away from the scallop grounds until catches could be shared.
With limitations on the days at sea for larger vessels and smaller boats feeling the pressure because the majority of EU fishing quotas are met by the larger British fishing fleets. Tight margins and struggling profits, met with Scallops not being restricted by the standard EU quotas. It was all a matter of time.
Final stages of an agreement are in place this week. Originally the idea was to keep fishing limited to allow for the scallops to reproduce, but it is believed that the British boats all came equipped to catch much more because they know that access will be restricted or banned after Brexit. With some vessels back on the waters and some being repaired. It will only be a matter of weeks before we know if a similar incident will take place, this time both French and British Naval Officers will intervene.