France announced the arrest of a British fishing boat off the coast of the port of Le Havre to fine it for different infractions at a time when relations between the two countries are strained precisely because of the fishing licenses that Paris is claiming from London due to the “Brexit”.
The French government said in a statement that one of its Gendarmerie patrol boats yesterday carried out checks on two vessels in the Seine Bay following its decision to tighten supervision in the English Channel “in the context of discussions on licenses with the United Kingdom and the European Commission.”
One of the fishing vessels initially tried to evade the patrol boat’s control, according to the French Ministry of the Sea, until after warnings from the gendarmes it agreed to let them carry out checks.
The agents found no infraction, but fined him for resisting their control.
In the other British fishing vessel checked, the gendarmes found that it was not on the lists of licenses agreed by the European Commission and France to the United Kingdom and it was taken to the port of Le Havre where a procedure has been opened.
The French Executive emphasized that this procedure can lead to the confiscation of the catch he was carrying as well as his immobilization until payment of a fine.
“That represents significant economic consequences for the shipowner,” stressed the Ministry of the Sea in its communiqué, which also added that the captain could be subject to “criminal sanctions.”
The Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, said Thursday in statements to the CNews channel that the British government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson understands only “the language of force” in this dispute.
Beaune added that it seems to him that the British have understood that we have to go back to the negotiating table “but if they don’t, we will continue.”
The reinforcement of controls in the English Channel are the first consequence of the warnings of the French Executive which, through the mouth of its spokesman, Gabriel Attal, warned that they were running out of patience, and reiterated that they were preparing a series of retaliatory measures if there is no agreement before the end of the month.
For Paris, London has not granted French fishermen almost half of the fishing licenses to which it considers it is entitled to fish in British jurisdictional waters (especially around the Anglo-Norman islands, closer to France than to the United Kingdom) under the Brexit agreement.
Attal advanced that systematic controls of fishery products arriving from the United Kingdom are prepared, but also the prohibition for British ships to land their catches in French ports.
It is also envisaged to interrupt or reduce the energy supply of the Anglo-Norman islands, some of which are supplied with electricity by submarine cable coming from France.