April 15, 2009

French fishermen blockade Channel

French fisherman disrupted ferry service across the English Channel for a second day Wednesday in protest of quotas on cod and sole.

Thousands of passengers and truck drivers were affected by the blockade, which cut off ferry service in Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk, The Times of London reported.

The European Union's limits the catch for 20 boats in Dunkirk to 133 metric tons a year, a catch that would keep three boats busy, The Times said.

Travelers have been diverted to the Channel Tunnel but the blockade caught thousands off guard. About 5,000 people were stranded in Calais when fishermen pulled their trawlers off the blockade for the night on Tuesday.

There are thousands upon thousands caught up in it, said Brian Rees, a spokesman for P&O Ferries.

On a normal day we get 4,000 truckers through on this route, he said. The numbers get big very quickly.

On Wednesday, the a French government spokesman said the fishing limits for cod were increased 30 percent for the Channel in the latest round of negotiations.

We have to manage the resource over time to protect our country's fishing industry, he said.