Skip to main content

Fishermen lift French port blockades

  • Story Highlights
  • French fishermen lift port blockades at Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne
  • Fishermen are protesting over European Union fishing quotas
  • Blockades shut all cross-Channel traffic at the three ports
  • Ferry operator P&O says it is resuming normal Dover-Calais services
  • Next Article in World »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

(CNN) -- French fishermen suspended their blockade at three English Channel ports Thursday, allowing ferry traffic and freight to move through after two days of disruption, union leaders said.

French fishing boats blockade the port of Boulogne.

French fishing boats blockade the port of Boulogne.

The French ports of Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne were open again after French unions met Thursday and agreed to stop the blockade.

Union leaders have yet to agree on how the rest of their protest will develop, and whether the suspension will become permanent.

The fishermen began their blockade of the three ports Tuesday to protest European Union fishing quotas, which they say threaten their livelihoods.

The flotillas forced a halt to all cross-Channel traffic, including passenger ferries and freighters, stranding tourists on both sides of the waterway and causing a backlog of freight trucks.

P&O, the largest ferry operator on the Channel, said it had resumed running normal services to Calais.

"It is our hope that we'll be able to continue doing that throughout the day," spokeswoman Michelle Ulyatt said.

LD Ferries, which operates services to Boulogne, said it had canceled four sailings Thursday as a result of the dispute.

"We do not yet have any information on whether any of our services will be affected beyond 16th April," the company said in a statement.

French fishermen held four hours of talks with Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Michel Barnier in Paris on Wednesday, the French news agency Agence France-Press reported. Barnier offered the local industry €4 million ($5.3 million) in aid, but refused to budge on the fishermen's key demand that the European Union increase fishing quotas, AFP reported.

Both France and the European Union have ruled out any renegotiation, pointing out that French cod quotas have already been raised 30 percent since 2008, AFP said.

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print