British boat in hot water over scallop haul near France

9th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

A British-registered trawler suspected of having illegally dredged 17 tonnes of scallops in the English Channel has been ordered to port in France pending possible charges, local maritime officials said Wednesday.

The trawler, the Van Dijck, was diverted to berth at Ouistreham on the Normandy coast on Tuesday following an on-board inspection 12 nautical miles (about 22km) off the French side of the Channel.

Prosecutors in Caen said they would provide more details of the case later in the day.

The incident follows clashes in October 2012, when the crews on five British trawlers claimed to have been surrounded and stoned by a flotilla of 40 French boats while attempting to gather scallops from beds off the port of Le Havre.

The British fishermen claimed they had been fishing legally in international waters while their French counterparts accuse them of encroaching into their territorial waters and undermining efforts to preserve stocks.

© 2013 AFP

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