English Channel scallop fishing dispute

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English Channel scallop fishing dispute
Date10 October 2012 or 8 October 2012
28 August 2018
Location24 kilometres (15 mi) off the coast of Le Havre, France.
Caused byDifferent fishing restrictions on British and French scallop fishing.
French fishermen claim the British boats were within the 19-kilometre (12 mi) fishing exclusion zone around the coast.
GoalsTo prevent British fishermen fishing for scallops.
Parties to the civil conflict
British scallop fishermen
French scallop fishermen
5 boats
40 boats

The English Channel scallop fishing dispute, also titled the Great Scallop War or guerre de la coquille, occurred on 10 October 2012[1] or 8 October 2012,[2] between British and French fishermen 24 kilometres (15 mi) off the coast of Le Havre, France.[1][3] The dispute arose because of a difference in fishing restrictions between the two countries. British scallop fishers are allowed to fish for scallops all year round, whilst French scallop fishers are not permitted to fish between 15 May and 1 October each year.[4]


Approximately 40 French fishing boats surrounded 5 British fishing boats and, according to the British fishermen, tried to slam into the British boats as well as throw rocks and nets to try and damage the propellers and engines.[5] French fishermen claim that their action was in response to the British boats being inside the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy 19 kilometres (12 mi) fishing exclusion zone; British fishermen deny that they were within the exclusion zone.[2]

The British Marine Management Organisation informed French authorities. The French Navy intervened and a meeting took place between the French and British fishermen to resolve the dispute.[1] In total the dispute at sea lasted for more than six hours.[6]

On 12 October 2012, British fisherman requested protection from the Royal Navy after French fisherman, Claude Milliner, threatened "to call out 250 boats or more".[6] The Royal Navy announced that it had no plans to deploy ships from the Fishery Protection Squadron, instead relying on French authorities to keep the dispute from escalating.[6]


On August 28th, 35 French fishing boats tried to prevent several British fishing boats from catching sea scallops off the Normandy coast.[7]. Violence erupted when the British rammed 3 French ships and damaged numerous others by throwing stones and smoke bombs, as the British were trying to escape. The violence has been condemned by both British and French officials. Talks started on September 5th, but by the 12th, failed to conclude due British and French intransigence. [8] The French Navy has vowed to intervene in the event of future clashes. [9]

Subsequently, a "crab" war has developed in which the British claim the French fishermen deliberatly damaged their crab pots. This violence also has been condemned by both British and French officials.[10]

See also[edit]

1993 Cherbourg incident


  1. ^ a b c "Scallop War: French 'Pelt' British Fishermen". News.sky.com. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b Sawer, Patrick (21 October 2012). "Scallop wars: an uneasy ceasefire as fishermen await the next salvo". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  3. ^ Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent (10 October 2012). "British fishermen attacked by French boats in the Channel | Environment". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  4. ^ Hinnant, Lori (11 October 2012). "Scallop spat: UK, French fishermen in catch clash – US news – Environment | NBC News". MSNBC. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  5. ^ "Worldnews – French and British dispute over scallop fishing". FIS. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Keith Gladdis (12 October 2012). "Send for the Navy! Scallop Wars escalate after French threat to mobilise 250 boats | Mail Online". London: Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  7. ^ Scallop war: French and British boats clash in Channel
  8. ^ Minister Eustice Oral Statement on Scallops
  9. ^ French navy will 'intervene' to avert fresh 'scallop war' as Gallic fishermen vow fresh 'assault' if no deal reached
  10. ^ [1]