Home Breaking French fishermen plot to block UK ports in Brexit threat over fisheries

French fishermen plot to block UK ports in Brexit threat over fisheries

8th Jun 20 4:10 pm

Brexit tensions over Britain re-claiming British waters and not allowing the EU access to our fisheries could potentially see chaos at UK ports.

Tensions with French fishermen could see blockades at the Port of Dover CEO Doug Bannister warned, following the UK leaving the Brexit transition.

Speaking on Sky News Ian King Live programme, Bannister said he is confident port authorities will robustly deal with the threat.

He told King that if the French do follow through with their threat it will cause disruption, whether there is any success of trade talks.

King asked, “What about the possibility of blockades at Calais?

“That is being suggested that French fishermen may do, that would have a knock-on effect at Dover very rapidly, wouldn’t it?”

Bannister said, “Certainly in times when we have seen disruption on the French end or when we had volume surge with ash clouds that effected aviation we could see these disruptive events happening.”

He said that they are quick at resolving disruption and resolving such incidents.

He said, “But the one thing that Dover time and time again has proven is that our recovery is very swift.

“We can clear the backlog, get the transport moving and get business back to normal within days of an event.”

Bannister added, “Certainly last year when we were spending a lot of time on no deal planning one of the key issues was driver preparedness or trade readiness.

“What we have been saying all along, drivers and indeed haulage companies and logistics need to prepare the customs documentation far up the supply chain.

“This is so by the time the traffic presents itself and the port it is border ready.

“It shouldn’t be done at the frontier, it doesn’t need to be done at the frontier.

“It can be done further up and down the supply chain and that will be really important to maintain the seamless flow through Dover.”

Diplomatic sources told The Times, that French President Emmanuel Macron, has warned unless they get their way with a fisheries agreement with the UK fishermen will spark protests along with civil unrest.

George Eustice the government’s fishing minister has warned the European Union, the Royal Navy will be sent out to protect UK waters from EU fishing trawlers.

The Home Office are to provide four vessels and the Royal Navy will provide three more vessels to protect our waters, Eustice said.

Amélie de Montchalin, the French Europe minister has previously warned, if there is no fishing deal with the EU negotiations, then fishing will become a “very nasty battle” which may collapse the whole trade deal.

The director of marine and fisheries, at the department of the environment, food and rural affairs (Defra), Neil Hornby said, Border Force vessels will be brought in also, if necessary.

There will also be aerial surveillance along with a Royal Navy and Border Force vessels presence in UK waters.

Eustice said, “We have significantly increased our enforcement capability.

“We think that is sufficient.”

British government officials have told minsters that there is a “very realistic chance” major ports, including Calais, could be blockaded by European Union fishing boats, according to The Times newspaper.

In what has been described as a “nightmare scenario” senior ministers are concerned Calais is vulnerable to French protests should Johnson continue to restrict access to fishing in British waters, as 17% of the UK’s trade goods cross the channel.

The French blockades could spread to Belgium with Dutch fishermen also taking part in blocking trade through Rotterdam and Zeebrugge.

A Whitehall source told The Times, “We are uniquely vulnerable when it comes to moving goods across the short straits.

“In the event of the blockade there is very little we could do.”

A House of Lords enquiry was told, a new control centre is to open with 50 extra fishery protection officers have been recruited.

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