The fishermen lit red flares as they started their protest in St Malo, which will be followed later on Friday by a planned blockade by other French fishermen of the Channel Tunnel and the port of Calais, in protest at Britain’s failure to issue them with more fishing licences since Brexit.
The dispute broke out after Britain left the European Union, with Paris saying London should have issued more French boats with licences to fish in British territorial waters. Britain says it is respecting post-Brexit arrangements.
Tension flared in October, when France briefly seized a British fishing boat in its waters, and both countries sent maritime vessels to waters off the English Channel island of Jersey earlier this year.
The argument between France and Britain centres on the issuance of licences to fish in territorial waters six to 12 nautical miles off Britain’s shores, as well as in the seas off the coast of Jersey, a Crown Dependency in the English Channel.