LONDON (Reuters) – Britain could order the boarding of other French vessels in retaliation for France’s detention of a British scallop trawler in French waters, a British minister said as the dispute over the post-Brexit fishing was getting worse.
The British Foreign Minister summoned the French Ambassador to London on Friday to explain the actions of Paris.
“Obviously, it is always open to us to always strengthen the application of the law on French ships, to step up more if that is what they are doing to our ships,” said the British secretary to the ship. ‘Environment, George Eustice, on BBC television.
“There are other administrative things that we can require from ships. It’s not something we want to address.”
The Cornelis Gert Jan, a scallop dredge, was escorted to the northern port of Le Havre after his crew failed to prove they were authorized to fish in French territorial waters, French officials said.
Eustice said London’s goal for now was to try to resolve the issue with the European Commission and with the French ambassador in London.
“We obviously reserve the option of being able to respond in a proportionate manner,” said Eustice.
France has listed potential sanctions against Britain if there is no progress in the talks, including additional customs checks on British goods from November 2 and what was seen in London as a threat of reduce electricity exports to Britain if talks fail.
French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie told France 2 TV on Friday that there was no progress in talks between France and Britain on post-Brexit fishing licenses, and said that it was right for France to consider sanctions against the UK.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; written by Paul Sandle; edited by William Schomberg)