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French fishermen threaten to block UK lorries amid Brexit fishing row

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By Euronews  with AFP
French fishermen stand near burning tyres as they gather as part of a protest action against the delay in granting licenses to access British waters
French fishermen stand near burning tyres as they gather as part of a protest action against the delay in granting licenses to access British waters   -   Copyright  DENIS CHARLET/AFP or licensors

Protesting French fishermen have threatened to block lorries from the UK carrying British fish, amid a row over access to British waters.

More than a hundred fishermen mobilised on Thursday night in Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais), France's largest fishing port.

They were protesting the delay to the allocation of licences to access British waters, months after the post-Brexit agreement on fishing was signed between the UK and the EU.

"This night of action is a warning shot and if nothing happens at European level, then we will move up a gear," warned Olivier Leprêtre, president of the regional fisheries committee.

France has called on the European Commission to act “firmly” to “accelerate” the implementation of the agreement.

As part of that agreement, the UK is supposed to issue fishing licenses for the 6-12 nautical mile zone.

According to Leprêtre, the UK has only granted licences to access UK waters to 22 out of 120 vessels.

In a joint statement, the French Minister for the Sea Annick Girardin and the Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune recalled "the need for firm and determined action by the European Commission to ensure the full application of the agreement".

"We will act in a spirit of European solidarity and cooperation with the United Kingdom, but the urgency of the situation requires an acceleration of collective efforts," they said in a joint statement issued late on Thursday evening.

"The full delivery of access licences to British waters and the rapid resolution of essential issues such as forward bases must be ensured as soon as possible," they added.