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'It's a disaster' France fishermen bemoan crippling Brexit deal leaving sector on knees

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French fishermen have expressed grave concerns about the future of France’s fishing industry following the Brexit deal which has decimated their hauls and put the industry on its knees. Speaking to French TV network Public Sénat, the fishermen branded the situation “a disaster” adding “Brexit is a real fiasco and we lose across the board”. The furious Frenchmen added “the fish is not so fresh anymore” after being forced to sail longer routes in order to meet EU bureaucratic demands.

Olivier Lepretre, President of the Regional Fisheries Committee of the Hauts de France region, expressed grave concerns for the future of the French fishing industry.

He said: “There’s no interest in going to sea, we are not profitable.

“It’s a disaster, the drop is so vertiginous that we can’t even catch fish and we don’t even try to catch it anymore.”

He added: “For the fishermen of Hauts de France, Brexit is a real fiasco and we lose across the board. The negotiation is bad.”

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Xavier Leduc, director-general of the fish exporting company Euronor, echoed similar concerns for French fishing.

Mr Leduc said: “Europe requires customs control on landing to justify the European origin of the fish.

“So we are forced to divert our boats to make them make a much longer route to go to Denmark to come to Boulogne.”

He concluded: “The fish is not so fresh anymore.”

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Fishermen operating off France’s northern coast have lamented the terms of the Brexit trade agreement the European Union struck with Britain in December.

Several boats have been forced to put their operations on hold in order to secure the new licence required to access British waters.

French Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin and mayor of Boulogne-sur-Mer Frédéric Cuvillier sent a letter to Brussels and London asking for urgent action to be taken to speed up the approval of licensing.

Jean-François Rapin, regional councillor and senator of Pas-de-Calais, and Xavier Bertrand, president of the Hauts-de-France region, also signed the letter urging the bloc and the UK for immediate action

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Express.co.uk understands the UK Single Issuing Authority (SIA) responsible for licencing began to issue licences to allow fisheries from the bloc to operate within 12 miles of the UK coastline on January 29.

But the letter stressed: “On January 1, in front of the players in the sector in Boulogne-sur-Mer, the government made a commitment that fishing licenses in the 6-12 nautical mile zone be awarded within 48 hours.

“But to date and despite this commitment, only 23 licenses have been awarded directly threatening the activity of the 850 sailors of Hauts-de-France and the 5,000 jobs in the port.”



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