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UK minister comments on scallop debacle

Published by FiskerForum, 14-09-2018 · info@fiskerforum.dk

UK fisheries minister George Eustice has made a statement on the breakdown of negotiations over scallop fishing in Baie de Seine, which came to an end when the French negotiators pulled out, citing ‘extortionate’ compensation demands by the UK representatives. George Eustice stated that he has written to French minister Stephane Travert to register his disappointment that no agreement was reached.

An initial agreement under which the UK vessels would respect the French closure in return for compensation in the form of a quota transfer of other species from France to the UK, providing compensation for the scallopers affected, hit the rocks as it emerged at a subsequent meeting that the two sides had different ideas on the level of compensation.

‘Minister Travert and I discussed the progress of the negotiations twice, including on the evening of 7th September,’ George Eustice said.

‘However, the offer made by French industry remained unchanged from that discussed in Paris on Friday. UK industry does not believe that the compensation package proposed by the French fishing industry provides sufficient recompense for their projected loss of earnings and has therefore rejected it on that basis. The French industry are currently unwilling to accept an offer to put back in place the agreement that has applied to the over 15 metre fleet for a number of years. As a result the talks have broken down and there remains no agreement at all,’ he stated.

George Eustice commented that the UK government has offered to assist French enforcement authorities with MMO personnel should they want to consider joint operations given the risk of further altercations, and has also asked the French government to consider alternative options available to them.

‘Firstly, it seems to me that putting back in place the agreement for the over 15 metre fleet which has stood the test of time over the last five years would be preferable to no agreement at all and I hope that the French industry will reconsider their position in this regard. Secondly, it is open to the French government to lift the domestic restrictions they have in place earlier than they normally in order to address concerns that their industry have expressed about the lack of a level playing field,’ he said..

‘The UK industry is legally allowed to fish in the Bay of Seine. They have shown commendable restraint during the negotiations and I welcome their cooperation and understanding. I hope a mutually beneficial outcome might still be agreed between the two industries but in the meantime we stand ready to offer what assistance the French government may wish to consider.’

Source: DEFRA

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