The alerts came after French captains learnt they now need a permit for Channel Island waters as well as France’s authority. The London Fisheries Convention, which gave French vessels access, ended on Friday but the French government has branded new rules “disrespectful”. Yesterday, Dave Gillingham, from Alderney, said he has been warned by a Frenchman he works with that it would not be safe to land his fish at Cherbourg.
He said: “They could blockade the port [if we try to land] or set fire to our boats. It has all been done in the past.”
He said his only option was to land in Britain where his catches have less value.
Pierro Le Cheminant, 53, of Guernsey, said: “The email said it was not safe for us to go in there and that if we went, our fish would be destroyed. French fishermen are up in arms and I can see why. The paperwork the French need hasn’t been provided yet by the Guernsey authorities. The French feel that if they can’t fish in our waters, then we shouldn’t be able to land fish in theirs.
“We’re nine miles from Cherbourg but if we can’t go, then we’d have to go 60 miles to the UK and that means nine hours in February.
“It’s not safe for a small boat. We’re being blackmailed by the French and our police don’t care. We can’t wait. We have families to support and no money coming in.”
French and British fishing boats had already clashed in the English Channel over scallop fishing rights back in August 2018.