The European Commission has ruled that a ban on anchovy fishing in the Gulf of Gascony between France and Spain should remain in place until the end of the year. But Brussels has decided to compensate French fishermen with a package of some 15 million euros.
France had challenged the Commission’s view that anchovy stocks in the Gulf were too low to allow fishing to be resumed.
Last week Paris’s Agriculture Minister, Michel Barnier sought the support of his Spanish counterpart, Elena Espinosa, in getting the ban lifted.
But Madrid sided with Brussels’ view that the species stills needs protection in order for the industry to have any future.
In recent weeks a growing campaign against the ban by French fishermen has culminated in the closure of several ports in the region,
They say their livelihoods are on the line, and that many of their number will be driven out of business.
It is not clear to what extent the compensation deal will soften the blow.