France And The United Kingdom Reach Scallop-War Compromise
The countries of France and Britain have reached an agreement that would end a conflict between the nations regarding scallop fishing in the English Channel. The two nations have been at odds over the issue for more than a decade.
Officials from the two countries met in London earlier in the week after an incident a week ago involving 40 French boats and five British vessels. The incident took place off the northern coast of France and managed to cause a significant rise in the tensions surrounding the matter.
The tentative agreement that resulted from the London meetings included an understanding that UK vessels will abstain from fishing the Bay of Seine during periods in which French fisherman are restricted from the area. A finalized agreement will not be reached until the two sides collaborate on a package to compensate smaller British vessels that stand to suffer from the Bay of Seine prohibition.
Present regulations allow for British fisherman to benefit from the scallop-rich Bay of Seine throughout the year. French fishermen are banned from working the area from May 15 to October 1 of each year to conserve the scallop population.
A previous agreement between the two countries allowed for UK fishing boats larger than 15 meters to only fish the bay during this time period.
The tentative agreement that was reached this week will seek a similar agreement by disallowing smaller boats in the area during the restricted period. compensation for these vessels will be discussed in Paris in the upcoming days.
A representative of the UK fishing industry expressed a belief that a deal will only be finalized if it is clear that British fisherman did not get shorted on the deal.
Jim Portis is an executive with an organization of fish producers and says that he was happy to see a potential deal that seeks to honor the interests of fisherman on both sides of the table.
British fishing vessels have been asked to not fish in the area until a deal is finalized.
The conflict responsible for the recent negotiations began last Monday night when French boats gathered in the area to protest what they characterized as the 'pillaging' being done by the British vessels fishing the area.
The British vessels were chased away from the area and two of the vessels returned to their home harbor with damaged windows after French fisherman reportedly hurled rocks and other items at the boats.
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