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Scallop wars: Breakthrough after UK and France talks

Sky News logo Sky News 06/09/2018

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Video: French v Brit Channel clashes

The UK and France have reached an agreement in principle over a fishing dispute that has led to recent violence in the Channel.

In a joint statement following talks between the two governments, the UK and France said an agreement on the principles of a deal has been reached.

French fishermen have accused the British of unfairly catching scallops in the Baie de Seine during the summer, when French boats are banned from doing so because of French regulations aimed at protecting shellfish stocks.

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However, British boats don't face the same restrictions and can legally do so.

Stock photo ID:471345877Upload date:August 02, 2014: Stock photo ID:471345877 Upload date:August 02, 2014 © Other Stock photo ID:471345877 Upload date:August 02, 2014 However, British boats don't face the same restrictions and can legally do so. 

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the agreement is subject to a reasonable compensation package, the details of which will be defined in Paris on Friday.

In the meantime, there is a voluntary agreement for all UK vessels to respect the French closure period in the Baie de Seine.

Jim Portus, from the South West Fish Producers Organisation, told Sky News: "Until the deal is signed on Friday, we are asking them to avoid the area (Bay de Seine) for the next two days.

Video: Fishermen clash in a battle for scallops (Reuters)

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"Then we will see details of the deal on Friday. Quite frankly if it's not good enough it'll still be rejected. 

"The owners of the vessels have got to know they are going to be as well-off in terms of their income from where they are allowed to fish.

"This is a small area of the English channel from which they will be excluded for about three weeks."

The Honeybourne 3, a Scottish scallop dredger, in dock at Shoreham, West Sussex, following clashes with French fishermen in the early hours of Tuesday morning in the English Channel during a long-running dispute over the scallop-rich area that the French are prevented from harvesting. © Press Association The Honeybourne 3, a Scottish scallop dredger, in dock at Shoreham, West Sussex, following clashes with French fishermen in the early hours of Tuesday morning in the English Channel during a long-running dispute over the scallop-rich area that the French are prevented from harvesting. Footage emerged last week of rival vessels colliding with each other and objects being thrown. 

It is alleged that some French boats threw smoke bombs and rocks at English and Scottish vessels, causing damage.

The French argue that modern fishing techniques are damaging and if the area is fished all year round there will be nothing left for future generations.

They say larger boats hoover up as many scallops in a single day as smaller fishermen would achieve in a month, and want fairer rules in place.

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