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UK Ferry Firms Launch Legal Battle Over French Port Blockade

by Robin Pilgrim, LawAndTax-News.com, London

16 April 2009


Ferry firms in the UK are launching a legal battle against the French government after protesting fishermen blocked access to the country's ports.

According to trade union leaders, angry fishermen have used a flotilla of boats to block access to the Channel's main ports in Calais, Dunkerque and Boulogne, preventing English ferries from entering and exiting.

The fishermen are protesting against fish quotas, which they believe are poorly organized and lower than average - resulting in dwindling trade and financial hardship.

In light of the protests, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Michael Barnier explained that quotas have already been raised by 30% in the past 12 months, although he is willing to consider alternative ways of compensating the hard-up fishermen.

However, according to a spokesman for UK ferry firm P&O, Chris Laming, the protests are not only causing major disruption to passengers, but are also costing the firms "hundreds of thousands of pounds," with the pursuit of compensation from the French authorities now under way. P&O's legal battle has gained the support of several other UK ferry firms affected by the blockades.

It is not yet known when the protests will come to an end.


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