British and French fishermen clash in the English Channel in ‘Scallop Wars’ battle after UK crews were accused of ‘pillaging’
- About 40 French boats set out to confront English fishing vessels off Normandy
- Stones thrown and boats rammed as rivals clashed over the scallop-rich waters
- The French accused their English counterparts of ‘pillaging’ supplies in the area
- French leave stocks to regenerate until October – but English do not face same restrictions
French and British fishermen have clashed in the English Channel over a hoard of scallops – the latest flare-up in a years-long war over the prized shellfish.
The British were heavily outnumbered at five boats to around 40 French vessels and officials from France were called out to keep the peace in the scallop-rich waters off Normandy.
Stones were thrown and boats were rammed leaving a number of vessels with holes in their hulls as the furious rivals clashed off Seine Bay, according to local reports.
French fishing officials later accused the British of ‘pillaging’ scallop supplies.
French and British fishermen clashed in the English Channel on Tuesday over a hoard of scallops – the latest flare-up in a years-long war over the prized shellfish. Pictured is a previous confrontation between rival French and British fishermen off Le Havre in 2012
According to French media, fishing vessels had set off from Trouville-sur-Mer, Port-en-Bessin and Ouistreham to confront the English. It is not clear which ports the small British fleet were from.
‘The French went to contact the British to stop them working and they clashed with each other,’ said Normandy fishing chief Dimitri Rogoff, claiming that while there was stone-throwing he had not heard of any injuries or damage.
‘The French almost surrounded the British,’ Rogoff said, prompting the British to flee.
Rogoff said ‘around 40’ French boats had gathered overnight in protest at British ‘pillaging’ of the scallop supply.
French boats only have the right to fish for scallops from October 1 until May 15 to allow local stocks to regenerate, but the British do not face the same restrictions.
The French trawlermen wanted the British to stay north of a line running from Barfleur in Normandy to Cap d’Antifer to the east to avoid running supplies down, Rogoff said.
Tensions have been high between British and French fishermen for several years, leading to angry disputes that have been dubbed ‘Scallop Wars’.
In some years the two sides have been able to come to partial agreements, but ‘not this year’, said Rogoff.