French fishermen threaten to block Channel Tunnel, ports in protest over fishing licenses

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Report says fishermen could target ferry and freight companies after France changes quotas to maintain healthy catches

French fishermen threaten to block Channel Tunnel, ports in protest over fishing licenses

A marine protest against French fishing regulations led by fishermen angered at being denied quotas for cod or allowed to operate in one bay could cause serious disruption to the Channel Tunnel and northern ports, a union leader has warned.

France changed the quotas for cod in one part of the Mediterranean last year to maintain healthy catches for the European Union, angering fishermen from other areas who lost fishing licences and struggled to cover the costs of transporting their fish on vessels out of the zone.

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The head of France’s fishermen’s union, Franck Latour, said the fishermen could target ferry companies and freight companies as a way of protesting against the new rules, which allow boats operating in four different sites to operate outside one of the zones in the top of the Mediterranean Sea.

“If this goes on for weeks, we will close the tunnels,” Latour said. “It’s a national issue. Transport costs are enormous.”

The delays are particularly likely if the weather worsens in the coming weeks, he said.

But spokesman for the PSA Group, which runs a ferry company in northern France, said the launch of the new submarine Dunkirk to Calais service will not be affected.

“With an economic backdrop of 12% unemployment in our region, no one should underestimate the potential consequences that the 1,400 jobs at the public companies we operate and contribute to provide in France and in the UK would face in the event of our ports being closed,” the PSA spokesman said.

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