British trawler stopped by France in the middle of a fishing line leaves Le Havre after a week

A Scottish trawler detained in France for a week for fishing in French waters without a license has been released.

The fishing boat Cornelis Gert Jan left the port of Le Havre late Wednesday afternoon after a decision by the Rouen Court of Appeal, which authorized the boat “to leave Le Havre immediately without having to pay a deposit “said Captain Mathieu Croix’s lawyer. told AFP.

The State had requested the detention of the trawler pending the payment of a deposit of 150,000 €.

Macduff Shellfish, owner of the trawler, said in a statement on their website that they “are delighted that this matter is resolved and delighted that our crew and vessel cannot return home.”

“The crew acted calmly and professionally throughout the incident. They are in good spirits, eager to reunite with their loved ones and are grateful for all the messages of support received from the British public,” the statement also said.

The 36-meter-long trawler was diverted to Le Havre last Wednesday after a check by French authorities found that it had caught more than two tonnes of scallops without a license.

According to the prosecutor, the captain of the boat faces a fine of € 75,000 and administrative penalties.

French authorities have stepped up controls amid a dispute over fishing rights with the UK.

The French government claims that around half of the fishing licenses requested by French fishermen have not been approved and accuses the United Kingdom of not respecting the agreement reached before the final departure of the country from the bloc.

The post-Brexit deal with the European Union provided that fishermen could continue to fish in UK waters if they obtained a license and proved they were fishing there before.

Paris says, however, that many of the French boats that fish in UK waters are small, artisanal businesses that don’t necessarily have the technology to prove that they have accessed UK waters for years.

The dispute has seen France threaten to close its ports to some British ships, increase customs controls on goods coming from the UK and cut power to the island of Jersey – an autonomous dependency of the British Crown.

The United Kingdom categorically denied the accusation and described the French threats as “disappointing and disproportionate”. He also argued that if France goes ahead with its threats, it will violate the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

France originally planned for the measures to take effect on November 2, but suspended their implementation to allow more talks.

British Brexit Minister David Frost is expected in Paris on Thursday to discuss the issue with Clément Beaune, French Minister for Europe.

A British government spokesperson said earlier this week that Britain was “ready to continue intensive talks on the fishery, including considering new evidence to support the remaining license applications.”

“We welcome France’s recognition that in-depth discussions are needed to resolve the range of difficulties in UK / EU relations,” they added.

The two men will then travel to Brussels on Friday for a meeting at the European Commission, according to French government spokesman Gabriel Attal.

“My colleague Clément Beaune will meet Mr. Frost (Thursday) in Paris on this subject, and there will be another meeting on Friday at the European Commission,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“I would like to remind that this is above all a European issue and therefore the meeting at the European Commission will be very important and we will have to wait” for its outcome before sanctions are applied, he insisted. .

According to an EU source, Frost is due to meet Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic to discuss the Northern Ireland protocol, not fisheries.