The skipper of a British fishing trawler will face court next year for not having a licence to fish in French waters, the authorities have said.
A British industry leader has called the actions “extraordinarily over the top.”
Cyrille Fournier, who represents the prosecutor’s office for the French port of Le Havre where the boat was seized, said that the captain of the Cornelis Gert Jan boat has been told to appear in a French court on 11 August, 2022.
Fournier added that the British fishing trawler did not have the required licence to operate in French territorial waters.
Jim Portus, chairman of the Scallops Industry Consultation Group told Sky News, “France was part of the negotiations for the TCA (Trade and Co-operation Agreement), they knew what the rules were.
“The rules can’t be changed for France when they are applied to all the nations of the EU.
“So I think that France are being extraordinarily over the top in their treatment of British fishing vessels in this case and definitely they need to wind things down.”
The Environment Secretary George Eustice told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Friday, “We’re trying to get to the bottom of what happened.
“It is true that it was on the list originally and it had a licence.
“We understand that what happened is it may have made some changes to the engine on the vessel, and that meant that the licence had to be renewed.
“We’re trying to get to the bottom, working with Marine Scotland and the MMO and the owners of the vessel, to understand why it dropped off the list.
“But this is a minor administrative thing. I think it is entitled to fish in those waters.”