Was last night’s menu designed to remind the British PM that a no-deal Brexit could mean no more French Scallops?
Last night’s dinner between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President could have seen the PM a victim of a carefully planned menu.
One of the items on the menu was French caught scallops from the Baie de Seine and as Chair of the European Parliament’s PECH Committee, Pierre Karleskind tweeted today, did the British PM get the message:
“Fisherman of United Kingdom will no longer be able to come and fish for scallops in the waters of European Union in the event of a no-deal.
“I hope the message that Ursula @vonderleyen wanted to pass by putting it on the dinner menu she had with @BorisJohnson yesterday has passed.”
The cheeky tweet from the French MEP lays out the problems that scallop fishermen could face in the event of a no deal. Losing access to the lucrative scallop fisheries off the north coast of France and the Baie de Seine could cause serious damage to the UK fishing industry on the south coast of England.
While British scallopers have no access to French territorial waters up to 12 nautical miles (22 km) off the coast, they can legally operate in the expansive Baie de Seine that stretches from Cherbourg to Dunkirk.
If the current trade negotiations between the two blocs end in a no-deal scenario, British vessels will no longer be allowed into the fishery.
The fishery in the Baie de Seine has been the centre of an on/off conflict between the French and English for decades now. British fishermen have accused the French of ramming their vessels and hurling projectiles. Disgruntled French fishermen are unhappy that their British rivals can dredge for scallops all year-round while they are barred from doing so during summer months.
A no-deal would bring such conflicts to an end once the UK fishing boats would be removed from the French territorial waters in the English Channel and British fish importers would be forced to by king scallops from their neighbours instead.
The tweet maybe tongue-in-cheek but Mr Karleskind did express his genuine concern over a no-deal in a follow-up tweet where he said:
“I recalled it this morning on an English radio: I don’t know if a deal can be win/win, but I know that a no-deal will be loose/loose!