George Eustice told lawmakers on Wednesday.
British agriculture and fisheries ministry officials will meet
their French counterparts in London later today to try to defuse
the row after fishermen in the Baie de Seine threw rocks,
projectiles and insults at each other in a row over shellfish.
French fishermen want to reach an agreement that allows "vessels
from both countries to exploit this resource in a fair manner,
based on mutually accepted rules and conscious of the need to
preserve the resource", a statement issued by France’s
agriculture ministry said.
The French fishermen accuse the British of unfairly catching
scallops in the Baie de Seine during the summer, when French
boats are banned from doing so because of French regulations
aimed at protecting shellfish stocks.
The dispute comes as Britain negotiates its exit from the
European Union, with fishing and access to waters a particularly
sensitive issue in key areas for the ruling minority
"The (French authorities) are putting additional gendarmerie and
additional resources out there to ensure they have the capacity
to deal with any further outbreaks," Eustice told lawmakers,
adding he was confident it would not recur.
The dispute centers on the size of the boats that are allowed to
fish in the Baie de Seine.
"The solution really is to get a voluntary agreement (like the
one) that stood the test of time for the past five years, to get
something like that back in place," Eustice said.
(This version of the story has been refiled to fix typo in
(Writing by Elisabeth O'Leary; additional reporting by Richard
Lough in Paris; editing by Stephen Addison)
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