UK fishing boat captain to face trial in France

The captain of a British fishing boat detained by French authorities amid a deepening post-Brexit row over access to territorial waters will be tried in August 2022, prosecutors said on Friday.

British fishermen stand on the trawler 'Cornelis-Gert Jan' in the harbour of Le Havre after it was detained by French authorities.
British fishermen stand on the trawler 'Cornelis-Gert Jan' in the harbour of Le Havre after it was detained by French authorities. Photo: Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP.

Maritime police ordered the boat sequestered at the Channel port of Le Havre on Wednesday, saying a spot check revealed it had gathered more than two tons of scallops in French waters without a proper licence.

“The captain of the Cornelis Gert Jan has been summoned to appear at a court hearing in Le Havre on August 11, 2022,” the city’s deputy prosecutor, Cyrille Fournier, said in a statement.

He faces charges of “non-authorised fishing in French waters by a boat from outside the European Union,” he added, which carry a maximum fine of €75,000 as well as “administrative penalties”.

The owner of the trawler said on Thursday that it was fishing legally in French waters, alleging that the fine appeared to be “politically motivated”.

“We’ve not had this issue” previously, Andrew Brown, a director at Scotland-based Macduff Shellfish, told AFP, adding they had not yet been able to contact French authorities.

Britain and France  are at loggerheads over licensing rules for EU boats wanting to operate in waters around Britain and the particularly Channel Islands.

EXPLAINED: Why are France and the UK fighting about fish?

Paris has warned that it will ban UK boats from unloading their catches at French ports starting November 2nd, and impose time-consuming customs and sanitary checks on all products brought to France from Britain.

French fishermen accuse officials in Britain as well as its protectorate of Jersey of using Brexit as an excuse to keep many from securing licences for waters they say they have plied for years.

London has denied the claims, and promised “an appropriate and calibrated response” to the French measures, since the British fishing industry depends on French ports as a gateway to Europe, its main export market.

Britain has summoned the French ambassador to explain “threats” made over the post-Brexit fishing rights.

Member comments

  1. The printed licence was issued in Dec 2020. Macduff fisheries is the biggest shellfish processor in Europe. They don’t fish illegally.

  2. I’m fed up with the problem this dispute is causing done some research.
    Why use Jersey to sort out this problem?
    Both governments are to blame but in different ways – This is one of many smoke screens by Johnson while he and his cabinet shape British policies out of parliamentary discussion, He is fast becoming the author of many policies without governmental approval, even the speaker of the house of commons has spoken sharply to the Chancellor for breaking budget rules (the last Chancellor to do this was sacked and put on the back benches) but He’s still there.
    The French on the other hand are looking towards presidential elections and are looking for favour and support amongst many other ploys.
    May be the answer is to get the fishermen on both sides to sort this out between them round an official disputes procedure without political intervention, they would probably do a much better job

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French film stars cut hair in support of Iran protests

Video shows several big-name French movie stars cutting their own hair in protest

French film stars cut hair in support of Iran protests

French film stars, including Isabelle Huppert, Juliette Binoche and Marion Cotillard, have cut locks of their hair in an Instagram video published on Wednesday in solidarity with women protesters in Iran.

Charlotte Rampling and Jane Birkin, two stars with close ties to France, also appeared in the video.

It came a day after more than 1,000 French film professionals, including actor Lea Seydoux and Cannes Film Festival head Thierry Fremaux, signed a petition “supporting the revolt by women in Iran”.

Women removing their headscarves and cutting their hair has been a key image of the protests in Iran that broke out last month.

They were sparked by the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, following her arrest by Iran’s “morality police” who enforce Iran’s strict dress code that requires women to cover their hair in public.

“The Iranian people, with women in front, are risking their lives to protest. These people want only the most basic freedoms. These women, these men, deserve our support,” said a message accompanying the video on Instagram.

The campaign was launched by a group of lawyers.

“It is impossible not to denounce, again and always, this terrible repression,” their message added.