Lord Frost hits back in fishing row with France 

– How did Brexit spark the fishing feud?

When the UK left the EU, it also left the common fisheries policy, which since 1970 has allowed the bloc’s members access to all European waters outside the first 12 nautical miles of each country’s coastline.

The Brexit deal outlined how EU boats could continue to fish in UK waters, but British fishermen would get a greater share of the catch from those domestic waters.

Most of the share is being transferred to the UK this year, and there will be annual negotiations to decide how the catch is shared out going forwards.

– Why has this inflamed tensions with France? 

The rollout of the post-Brexit arrangements has caused a row, with Paris accusing the UK of failing to grant permission to every eligible French boat to fish in British waters. 

But the UK is adamant that it is following the terms of the Brexit deal which requires trawlers to provide historical GPS data to prove they worked in those waters before  Brexit. 

Some vessels have been unable to provide that data which has seen their applications for a licence be rejected. 

The Government has insisted 98 per cent of all EU fishing licence requests have been granted but France believes it is being shortchanged. 

– What is France threatening to do? 

French ministers have warned they will block British boats from some French ports and tighten checks on vessels travelling between France and the UK if the fishing licence dispute is not resolved by Tuesday next week.

France’s Europe minister, Clement Beaune, told French TV news channel CNews: ‘We have been extremely patient. Our fishermen have been extremely responsible. And so, from November 2, it’s over. We will engage in dialogue if the British want to, but we are taking retaliatory measures.’ 

– How has the UK responded?

Environment Secretary George Eustice said the French threats risk breaching the terms of the Brexit deal and EU law.

He warned the UK would respond in an ‘appropriate and calibrated’ manner if they were carried out. 

The UK Government is calling for ‘calm’, with the Foreign Office summoning the French ambassador to explain the actions taken by Paris. 

– Why was the British trawler detained?

The scallop vessel Cornelis was ordered to divert to the port of Le Havre after the French authorities said it was fishing in French waters without a licence.

The French said that another British trawler had been fined for obstruction after refusing to allow police to board to carry out checks.

The owner of the Cornelis, Macduff Shellfish, said the vessel had been fishing legally in French waters and called on the British Government to protect the rights of British fishermen.