The French Navy is ready to intervene if clashes between French and British fishermen over access to scallop-rich seabeds erupt again on the open seas, Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert said yesterday.
The minister, Stephane Travert, expressed hope that British and French fishermen will strike a deal to resolve their dispute when they meet today for talks.
British fishermen accused the French of ramming their vessels and hurling projectiles. Disgruntled French fishermen, unhappy that their British rivals can dredge for scallops year round while they are barred from doing so during summer months, said they came under a violent counter-attack.
"We can't keep going on like this, we can't keep having skirmishes like that," Travert said in an interview on CNews. "The French Navy is ready to step in if more clashes break out, as well as carrying out checks." The row highlights problems between European member states over fishing rights, a subject that is likely to become increasingly sensitive as Britain negotiates its future trade relationship with the European Union.