In a high-profile visit to Boulogne-sur-Mer this week, France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex, travelling with four members of his government and Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin, pledged that the sector would not be sacrificed and promised ongoing support for French fishermen and the fishing industry as a whole.
Unsurprisingly, during the Prime Minister’s visit, and with less than a month until the end of the transition period, the focus was firmly on Brexit and the implications for fishing and the future of the seafood industry.
‘Access to UK waters is a top priority. A no-deal could jeopardise the future of the local fishing industry. It could have negative consequences for the economy and the sustainability of resources,’ stated Olivier Leprêtre, president of the region’s fisheries committee.
‘We also have concerns about the future of traffic in the Straits of Dover, one of the busiest shipping areas in the world, and want to avoid at all costs traffic becoming unmanageable or even dangerous,’ he said.
He commented that the French government’s support for its fisheries sector is welcomed.
‘We are aware that a no-deal outcome is a possibility, but that’s definitely not what we want. No-deal would be a lose-lose outcome. It would affect not only French fishermen, but those on the UK side as well, whose access to the European market would be in doubt,’ Olivier Leprêtre said.
‘We hope that the French will continue to be able to fish in British waters and the British will be able to continue to export their products under appropriate conditions. Fishermen on both sides of the Channel must continue working closely together. We all know that in the case of a no-deal outcome, it would be hard for both communities to recover from such a bad decision.’