French fishermen vow to ‘use the heavy artillery’ in next Channel clash with English scallop rivals

Five boats were blockaded by 40 French vessels on Tuesday morning who lobbed petrol, smoke bombs and rocks in a two-and-a-half hour fishing rights battle.

French fishermen now appear to be planning to step up their attacks on British vessels as they branded out trawlers "roast beef".

One, Pierre Sophie, raged the "war" is not over and vowed to keep attacking UK fisherman in the English Channel.

In one rant, he said: "Will (sic) come back with more boats! We'll have to get the heavy artillery out!!!"

He also shared footage of the violent clash on Tuesday with the caption: "Bunch of b*****ds".




Another fisherman, , Steph LF, boasted about the attack, saying how "the little French frog… ate some f***ing British roast beef".

France's agriculture minister has also waded in – telling British fishermen to not go in the water over the ongoing scallop war.

Stephane Travert told Europe 1 radio station: "Because I am defending French fishermen and our fishing industry, I asked my English counterpart to see to it that English fishermen keep out of the area … where the clashes took place, until we have the necessary talks and meetings to find a solution."

The French are monitoring maritime traffic websites to block any British boats fishing for scallops.

It comes as the director of Whitelink Seafoods, whose boat Georgia Dawn managed to escape unscathed, has called for Navy intervention in the English Channel.

Graeme Sutherland told The Press and Journal: "The reality is it must have been a very scary situation.

“The French authorities should be controlling their own people, but if they can’t do it we should be protected by the Navy.

“If they are going to be unwilling to control their own then surely our government should be protecting us.

We are just trying to go about our jobs and these guys are getting threats and everything thrown at them.

“Throwing things out at sea is a different game all together. You just escalate everything right up.

“It is a very, very dangerous situation.”

Seven crew members on board the 90ft Honeybourne III feared being torched or sunk or in the violent battle.

One sailor, named only as Stuart, was woken by the shout: “Boys, we need help! The French are attacking us!”

He said: “There was smoke everywhere. We were sitting ducks and were hit first. You couldn’t go on deck. They could have sunk us.”

The trawler, from Shoreham, West Sussex, lost £600 of catch as it broke the blockade in international waters.

Another Brit boat had fire damage from a flare. The row is because the French can fish only from October to May while Brits face no curbs.

Barrie Deas, chief executive of Britain's National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, said: "We have raised the matter with the British government and asked for protection for our vessels.”

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has called on the French authorities to look after British crews.

He said: "My heart goes out to the British fishermen who were caught up in the terrible scenes that we saw happen earlier this week.

"They were fishing entirely legally, they had every right to be in those waters and we talked to the French authorities in order to ensure that we have a protocol.

"These are French waters – it’s the responsibility of the French to ensure that those who have a legal right to fish can continue to fish uninterrupted.”

But leaked messages from a Tory WhatsApp group show MPs are fuming over the cross-channel spat and say they Gove is being 'weak' and letting them down, Telegraph reports.

Owen Paterson, a Eurosceptic Tory MP, said on a Whatsapp group of Eurosceptic Tory MPs: "Our boats would not have to go over to French waters if they had fair access to our own.

"We should chuck Chequers [the Prime Minister's Brexit deal] and establish our full control of our EEZ [British waters] out to 200miles.

"We should then start managing our waters properly learning from competent maritime nations."

Sherryl Murray, the Conservative MP for South East Cornwall who lost her husband in a fishing accident, said: "I completely agree Owen. We should not be starting at relative stability and gradually increasing UK share.

"Whatever are Michael and George thinking about? They are showing weakness. Their proposal is not taking back control. I feel badly let down."

The Sun Says

THE terror inflicted on our fishermen by French thugs is an international outrage. So is the French navy turning a blind eye.

How can they have seen nothing amiss as Molotov cocktails, smoke bombs and rocks rained down on British boats?

Our men could have been killed. Yet they have every right to fish for scallops there, as French authorities admit.

If France’s navy won’t keep them safe, ours must be sent in to do so.

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