Greedy Brits take all our scallops
The opening salvo in the scallop war has been fired, said Salomé Vincendon. Some 35 boats of French scallop fishermen got into a violent altercation with five British dredgers in the English Channel last week, lobbing flares and rocks at the British boats. Both sides claim they were rammed. The French—restricted by their government to fishing for scallops only from Oct. 1 to May 15—are furious at the British “for fishing too much and too early,” leaving “only the crumbs” for the French when their season starts next month. The Brits, for their part, cried “piracy” and appealed to the Royal Navy for protection, citing social media postings in which French scallopers discussed buying catapults to try to sink the British vessels. The French are in the right here, of course. France long ago established a scallop fishing season “to protect breeding females and young shells” and to preserve the health of the species. But the British respect nothing, plundering the scallop population at will. They overfish both their own waters and the community zone that is open to all, and because they have no quota to constrain them, they can use much larger boats. Now that violence has broken out, all sides have to agree on a common fishing policy—preferably one that forces our British neighbors to leave breeding scallops alone.