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Cornish fishermen accuse French boats of reigniting scallop wars after English nets damaged

Cornish fishermen accuse French boats of reigniting scallop war row after ‘damaging their nets’ 12 miles off the English coast

  • Cornish fishermen claim French boats damaged English nets 12 miles off coast
  • English skippers accuse French of reigniting ‘scallop wars’ that saw flares thrown
  • UK Gov agreed boats will not fish in French waters in return for compensation 
  • Claims French boats towed nets through their crab pot lines off Cornish coast

Cornish skippers have accused French trawlers of reigniting the recent fishing war after a rise in damage to their nets.

They claim French boats have towed nets through their crab pot lines between six and 12 miles off the coast of Cornwall.

Yesterday, UK fishing leaders met French counterparts in Plymouth to discuss an increase in problems during the last six months. 

During the so-called scallop wars last month, French trawlers surrounded UK boats to try to stop them reaching fishing beds 12 miles off the coast of Normandy. 

French fishermen throwing rocks at a British boat as the vessels try to ram each other off the coast of Normand at the height of tension between the fishermen at the start of September 

Boats were rammed and flares, rocks and insults were hurled.

The UK Government has now agreed that its boats will not fish for scallops in French waters in return for ‘reasonable compensation’. 

Paul Trebilcock, chief executive of the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation, said: ‘What sometimes flares up is what we call gear-conflict, where French trawlers tow through the pots and nets that have been set by our local inshore fleet. 

This year, we seem to have had a real increase in the number of instances and the amount of gear lost. 

Footage earlier this month showed French crews throwing stones and smoke bombs onto British ships in a row over scallops

Footage earlier this month showed French crews throwing stones and smoke bombs onto British ships in a row over scallops

We are estimating it into the hundreds of thousands of pounds. Fishing in Cornwall cannot sustain these kinds of losses.’

The French are legally entitled to fish off Cornwall. However, UK static fishing nets and pots are clearly marked with buoys.

Mr Trebilcock added: ‘There’s speculation it could be Brexit-related, it could be frustrations spilling over from the scallop wars or it could be a number of things.’

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