The great scallop skirmish of 2018: What the shell is going on in the English Channel?

Scornful of scandalous scallop scooping, frustrated French fishermen flung smoke bombs to batter brazen British bivalve burglars.


August 31, 2018

Furious French fishermen waged waterborne warfare Tuesday, battling Britain’s bivalve business by bashing boats. 

Since shellfish ships share seabeds, skippers scooping scarce scallops feud fairly frequently. But, buoyed by Brexit, Britain’s brewing bivalve battle suddenly seems saltier.

The unscrupulous scoopers vs. bivalve bullies

Between England and France, the English Channel’s international waters  are swimming with shellfish. But French law bans scallop-scraping until October while British rules allow it year-round.

Steamed that the Brits-N-Chips were stealing all the scallops, French mollusk-eteers surrounded 5 British ships with 35 boats, hurling smoke bombs and curses and violently ramming a boat (check out the video).

The British called the Royal Navy for protection, accusing the French of making 3 hull-holes in British boats and 1 hell-hole for all the British fishermen who were just trying to mind their business and haul.

So what kicked off the mollusk mayhem?

Bivalves have always been big business in Europe. In past seasons, European bivalve-baggers negotiated boundaries to manage the mollusk market with manners. But this year fishermen couldn’t parley since Brexit may kill the EU’s shared-access fishing policy.

UK fishermen, who think it’s fishy that the rest of the EU pulls $630m out of British waters while hometown anglers reel in just $156m, proposed a bill to restore exclusive control over British waters (a first in decades).

In response to Britain’s proposal, the EU plans to revoke British fishing boats’ access to shared waters, meaning this seafood scuffle may be the first of many…

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