Scallop Wars OVER: French and British fisherman reach peace deal

     PEACE BRITISH and French fishing fleets have struck a truce

The row, which arose as Britain negotiates its exit from the European Union, centred on the size of the boats that are allowed to fish in the Baie de Seine where scallops can be found in large quantities.

The more than a decade-long disagreement came to a head in the early hours of 28 August as French fishermen allegedly threw smoke bombs, rocks and other projectiles at English and Scottish boats in the scallop-rich bay off the Normandy coast.

A previous deal banned British vessels larger than 15 metres doing so too, however smaller boats were free to help themselves to the molluscs all year round, angering French fisherman who believed they should face the same rules. "Tonight at midnight, they (the British fishermen) will leave the area in the Channel's east and will only return on Nov 1", French industry representative Pascal Coquet told AFP.

However, it failed to get the smaller British boats banned.

"This means our over-15-metre fleet will get the days at sea it wanted, while allowing the under-15-metre fleet to continue fishing in the area", he said in a written statement. "They fish everything and there are other altercations", Coquet said, adding that he is satisfied with the compromise even it came "a little late".

Britain's Fisheries Minister George Eustice commended the United Kingdom fishing industry for "its patience throughout negotiations and welcome this pragmatic outcome".

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British fisherman, Mark Powell, was detained by French police on charges of fishing at the bay illegally and fined £9,000.

Jim Portus, the chief executive of Britain's South Western Fish Producers Organization, said it was "a compromise".

"It's not the best deal, but it's better than no deal", he said.

The agreement, which comes after weeks of negotiations between both sides, must now be endorsed by both governments.

Fierce competition between the nations has been simmering since the long-running dispute blew up in 2012 in an incident in which French fishermen attempted to ram British boats.

A French fishing industry source confirmed that a deal had been reached.


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