French fishermen block Channel ports

1st October 2004, Comments 0 comments

LE HAVRE, France, Oct 1 (AFP) - Fishermen angry at skyrocketing oil prices on Friday blocked ports in north and northwest France including Calais, Le Havre and Boulogne-sur-Mer, and vowed to disrupt cross-Channel ferry traffic.

LE HAVRE, France, Oct 1 (AFP) - Fishermen angry at skyrocketing oil prices on Friday blocked ports in north and northwest France including Calais, Le Havre and Boulogne-sur-Mer, and vowed to disrupt cross-Channel ferry traffic.  

Alexis Maheut, president of the Upper Normandy regional fishermen's committee, said high oil prices were making work "impossible" for him and his colleagues.  

"Diesel oil is one of our primary expenses after social charges, and when we know that the price of diesel oil has gone up 34 percent since the start of the year, it's not hard for us to see that we're in a tough spot," Maheut said.  

Some 100 fishermen who gathered in Boulogne-sur-Mer demanded that the center-right government allocate a EUR 200 million (USD 248 million) aid package for the industry.  

"Since February, no one has listened to us. The agriculture minister is a honest guy, but everything goes through Bercy (the finance ministry). We've been taken for a ride," said Pierre-Georges Dachicourt, head of the National Fishermen's Committee (CNP).  

An inter-ministerial meeting on aid to fishermen to resolve the positions of the agriculture and finance ministries took place Thursday, but sources said the finance ministry had yet to agree to several measures.  

Agriculture Minister Herve Gaymard was due to meet with representatives of fishermen's organizations on Tuesday.  

The price of crude oil hit a record USD 50.47 per barrel during electronic trading Tuesday in New York, a jump of nearly 80 percent over the past year.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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