French fishermen in parts along the English Channel and Bay of Biscay from Dunkirk to Bayonne blockaded their ports this week in protest at rising costs and falling returns from their catches.
GV PAN Cherbourg harbour TO sea
SV INT. Fishing vessel on way out to sea
GV'S & MV fishing vessel (3 shots)
GV's and GV PAN freighter (3 shots)
SV's & GV fishing vessel towards freighter (3 shots)
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Background: French fishermen in parts along the English Channel and Bay of Biscay from Dunkirk to Bayonne blockaded their ports this week in protest at rising costs and falling returns from their catches. About thirty thousand men were involved and they disrupted cargo and ferry traffic.
The man claimed that in many cases they are now earning 40 per cent less than they were at this time last year. Falling prices brought about by an abundant supply of fish as well as rising fuel costs contributed to the drop.
After three days of blocked ports the Government acted.
The Minister of Transport M. Marcel Cavaille on Thursday (20 February) agreed to grant 63 million francs (about 6.3 million pounds sterling) in aid to the men. Much of it will be in direct aid to small-boat owners. The rest will go in fuel subsidies, social security benefits and a fish price support scheme.
The agreement was thrashed out after five hours of talks with fisherman's representatives. Under it France will no longer allow imports of fish from outside the EEC.
The measures appeared to satisfy most of the fishermen. At meetings on Friday most agreed to put to sea again but in Calais and Boulogne the boats stayed firmly in place.