French fishermen block the port of Saint-Malo in Brittany with their boats and have announced more actions against British fishermen for today. France and Britain have been at odds for months over the number of licenses French fishermen should get as part of a post-Brexit deal. The French accuse the British of not issuing enough permits, the British say they are complying with the deal.
Due to the blockade in Saint-Malo, British fishermen cannot unload their cargo on the European mainland. French fishing crews plan to do the same in Calais later today. They also want to block the flow of goods through the Channel Tunnel to the UK.
At the same time, Paris withdrew an invitation to the British Home Secretary to discuss the migrant crisis affecting both countries. A boat carrying migrants trying to reach the English coast was wrecked on Wednesday. 27 people were killed as a result.
French fishermen previously took matters into their own hands. In April, they blocked trucks carrying British fish to processing centers in France. In May, the British navy sent two patrol boats when French fishing boats blocked a harbor in Jersey and last month a British vessel was stopped in French waters for some time.
Today’s actions “are a warning shot,” the chairman of a French regional fisheries commission told reporters in Saint-Malo. “We are responding to the mocking and humiliating attitude of the English.”
A spokesman for Boris Johnson says the British Prime Minister is “disappointed by French threats of protests”. The fishery is of little economic value to both countries, but is symbolically important to both Great Britain and France.