Dutch fishermen face French blockade

19th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

About 10 Dutch fishing boats are being denied access to Boulogne harbour in northern France.

The port is being blockaded by French fishermen angry that their Dutch colleagues’ modern techniques lead to larger catches than their own. Their actions are not supported by French fishing unions.

Dutch vessels fish for red mullet, bass and whiting in the eastern part of the English Channel from September to May. There is always rivalry between the French and the Dutch fishermen, but low fish prices and high fuel costs have made the situation worse.

Free movement The Dutch boats have attempted to moor at Boulogne’s outer harbour, but this is hazardous due to the rise and fall of the sea. One Dutch skipper lost three fingers attempting to board his vessel at low tide. The Dutch have been forced to start using Belgian and English ports, but this means major extra costs as the fish market and buyers are in Boulogne.

The Dutch authorities stress that the free movement of people and goods within the European Union means the fishermen should be at liberty to use Boulogne. Meanwhile, Dutch MPs are raising the matter with Economic Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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