Thursday

2nd Feb 2023

French fishermen blockading English Channel offered €4m

French agriculture and fisheries minister Michel Barnier announced Thursday (16 April) that his government is ready to release some €4 million to appease fishermen whose blockade of English Channel ports has now entered its third day.

Early on Thursday morning the minister issued a communique offering the funds after more than four hours of negotiations with the fishermen in Paris, according to French media reports.

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  • The blockaders say that small-scale fishing is dying (Photo: Irish Presidency)

Mr Barnier is also to request that the European commissioner for fisheries, Joe Borg meet with himself and representatives of the French fishermen, according to domestic daily Le Figaro.

The fishermen have blocked the ports of Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk to protest EU fishing quotas, notably of cod and sole in the English Channel and the North Sea. They say that the quotas are too low and that small-scale fishing is dying while fish stocks are robust.

The French minister however has refused to touch the quotas, despite the offer of compensation.

The European Commission for its part on Wednesday affirmed that there could be no reconsideration of the quotas.

The blockade was temporarily lifted last night to clear a bottleneck of passengers from Calais.

The fishermen intend to lift the blockade again for a few hours this morning to allow their numbers to participate in a general assembly to consider the minister's offer.

At the same time, the French CFDT union has threatened to extend the blockade today to Eurostar and Eurotunnel services that pass through the Channel Tunnel if their demands are not met. The BBC is reporting however that the French police will move to prevent such action.

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