In the latest skirmish in the Channel dispute, the damage was caused to equipment belonging to the crew of the Salcombe-based vessel Claire Louise on Thursday. Fred Inch, who operates the boat, claimed that French vessels were regularly coming inside the UK’s six-mile limit and “indiscriminately taking fish from under the noses of local boats”.
He said he had reported the boat, which he has identified and believes operates out of northern France, but doubts there will be any comeback.
The tense situation has worsened in recent weeks, with the ongoing dispute between the governments of Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron intensifying, he said.
Mr Macron’s government stepped back from the brink earlier this week when it sensationally backtracked on a threat to punish the UK over claims it did not hand out enough permits to French fishermen under the post-Brexit deal.
Despite this, Mr Inch believes that French fishermen are still better off than their UK counterparts.
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“If anything, now it is worse,” he said.
“Over there, fishermen are treated as heroes and really looked after.
“They have big powerful boats and go where they like.
“I’ll admit I’m envious of what they have got.”
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As the two countries continue trying to hammer out a resolution, Brexit minister David Frost met France’s Europe minister Clément Beaune for around 90 minutes last week.
Mr Johnson’s spokesperson later said they did not believe “the French are planning to move forward with the previous threats they’ve made”.
This has included cutting off Jersey’s electricity supply from France and slowing down movement across the usually porous border with the UK.
Mr Beaune insisted that his Government wanted to give dialogue a chance in an effort to find an amicable solution.
But, he added that “the option for retaliatory measures remains open”.