Channel blockade suspended by French fishermen

16-04-2009

Channel blockade suspended by French fishermen
French fishermen have suspended their blockade of Calais, allowing cross-Channel ferry services to resume.

The protestors said they were lifting the blockade to consider a government offer over EU fishing quotas. Fisheries Minister Michel Barnier has reportedly offered the fishermen a €4 million (£3.5 million) subsidy, but has ruled out increasing the quotas.

P&O Ferries said it hoped to clear a backlog of freight at Calais today. A spokeswoman said: "The blockade is being lifted for today. We can start as soon as possible to get ships moving and resume a normal service."

But one protester told the BBC the government offer may not be sufficient to head off further blockades. Pascal Hamy, 49, said: "There have been some concessions but they're not enough.

"We understand people are stuck here and we know that they are frustrated. We're sorry but this action is the only thing the politicians understand."

Passenger Judith Blatch, 47, from Sudbury, Suffolk, told the BBC she was just relieved to be going home. She said: "I'm very happy. We have some sympathy with the French fishermen because it's their livelihood, but it wasn't doing the reputation of France any good.

"With the fishermen blockading the ports it does put you off France."

Ferry firms are considering seeking compensation from the French government after passengers were hit by three days of disruption.

The ports of Dunkirk and Boulogne remain blockaded meanwhile.

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