Five French fishing vessels block ferries to and from the UK in the port of Calais. France and Britain have been at odds for months over how many licenses French fishermen should get as part of a post-Brexit deal. The French accuse the British of not issuing sufficient permits, and the British say they are bound by the agreement.
This morning, French fishermen have already blocked the port of Saint Malo in Brittany, preventing a British fishing boat from docking. Later in the day, active fishermen want to block tunnel traffic from Calais to Dover for two hours.
At the same time, Paris withdrew the invitation of the British Home Secretary to discuss the migrant crisis affecting the two countries. A boat carrying migrants trying to reach the English coast crashed on Wednesday. 27 people were killed as a result.
French fishermen once took matters into their own hands. In April, they banned trucks carrying British fish to processing centers in France. In May, the British Navy dispatched two patrol boats when French fishing boats closed a port in Jersey, and last month a British ship was held in French waters for some time.
The head of France’s regional fisheries commission told reporters in Saint-Malo that today’s actions “are a warning shot”. “We are responding to the cynical and insulting attitude of the English.”
A spokesman for Boris Johnson said the British prime minister was “disappointed by the French threats of protests”. Fisheries are of little economic value to both countries, but are of symbolic importance to both Great Britain and France.