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France prepares fishermen for the worst over Brexit By Reuters

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© Reuters. On board the French fishing vessel Nicolas Jeremy within the North Sea

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By Michel Rose

PARIS (Reuters) – France will compensate its fishermen or educate them new expertise if there’s a collapse in talks for a post-Brexit commerce deal that threatens their livelihoods, a minister mentioned, in an effort to keep away from skirmishes at sea between French and British boats.

French fishing boats have prior to now rammed British vessels and their crews have hurled projectiles after they felt rivals invaded their waters, most just lately throughout the so-called scallop warfare of 2018.

Many assume skirmishes may flare up once more, notably if no commerce deal is reached between Britain and the European Union, as present transitional guidelines that give nonetheless give EU boats entry to British waters expire on the finish of the 12 months.

“I’m very eager to forestall incidents at sea and the exasperation, perhaps even the anger, that expresses itself,” French Seas Minister Annick Girardin advised Reuters.

“I’m a fisherman’s daughter, I do know what these sort of clashes will be like and the results they’ll have. I’ll attempt to forestall them,” Girardin, who comes from the tiny French archipelago of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon off the coast of Canada, mentioned in an interview.

As seas minister, she has been answerable for drawing up a contingency plan to compensate these concerned in fishing. She mentioned they’d obtain monetary help and even assist to study new expertise and alter jobs, whether or not or not a deal on fishing was agreed.

“I do know sailors do not wish to put down their luggage, nobody needs to be subsidised for not working, however that is in all probability one thing we’ll should deal with,” she mentioned.

A 3rd of France’s 7,500 fishermen will likely be affected by Brexit, she mentioned, principally alongside the coasts of Calais, Normandy and Brittany.

French fishermen have lobbied Macron to not give an inch over fishing rights, however his authorities has quietly dropped preliminary calls for to take care of the established order and has sought to arrange them for concessions.

Whereas a deal would nearly actually imply lowered quotas in British waters, no deal would imply zero entry for EU boats. Britain and EU have set Sunday because the deadline to seal a brand new commerce pact.

“I’m an optimist by nature, however you need to be practical on the similar time. We’ve only some hours left till Sunday. Positions are very far aside on fishing,” she mentioned.

“I come from Saint Pierre and Miquelon, fishing talks with Canada have been very powerful. Throughout negotiations, you need to put together for the very best in addition to for the worst.”

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