Wednesday, April 15, 2009

France and the freedom of the seas

The freedom to travel the high seas unhindered is one of the cornerstones of the maritime industry, commercial and leisure. The recent rise in piracy off Somalia has prompted France to send a warship and use force to free a captured yacht, accepting with determination and sorrow the high price involved.

Alas any form of prompt and determined action is apparently not feasible closer to home. French fishermen have blockaded several French ports and refusing to allow ships to travel to or from the UK. This is seriously damaging trade, with the M20 motorway in Kent now little more than a parking lot for trucks.

I'm seriously at a loss to understand why these fishermen aren't just moved off. They are breaking the law, inconveniencing many, causing financial hardships at the worst possible time, and to do all this so that they can continue to over-fish?

Stock in these waters are approaching critical levels, and we have seen in the disaster of the Newfoundland cod banks how the destruction of through over fishing can be near complete.

What's more they already get subsidies (i.e. my taxes) and the majority of illegal fishing incidents involved French fishing boats.

Thankfully we have a tunnel that isn't affected by this blackmail, but enough is enough, time to stop the blockade, and not by just giving greater subsidies.

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