London, Aug 29: French and British fishermen have fought in the English Channel in an escalating battle over scallops, according to a BBC News report.
About 40 French boats tried to stop five larger British boats from fishing 12 nautical miles (22km) off the Normandy coast, in the Bay of Seine. Fishing boats collided and stones were thrown, but no-one was injured.
Scallops, a kind of shellfish, are a popular and expensive on both sides of the Channel. Tensions over the gathering of scallop have rumbled for 15 years and these disputes are called "Scallop Wars". But for the past five years things were calm as the two sides have reached some annual agreements. But the French blocked the deal this year as the French people blamed that British fishermen's unrestricted catch is behind the depleting stock of scallops in the sea. Normally, French law restricts the scallop fishing season to between 1 October and 15 May.
French people want the British fishermen too should follow these restrictions. The skirmish on Tuesday took place more than 12 nautical miles off the Normandy coast, in the Bay of Seine. British fishermen claimed that they are legally allowed to fish all year around. But UK boats’ presence has angered the French, who accuse the British of depleting shellfish stocks. Normandy fishing chief Dimitri Rogoff complained: "For the Brits, it's an open bar- they fish when they want, where they want, and as much as they want".
Now UK fishermen are demanding government protection, while the French bewail the loss of a "primary resource". UNI