French fishermen to block key area of Channel Tunnel over fishing rights

French fishermen vowed Thursday to block part of the busy Channel Tunnel linking France and Britain over concerns they are losing their fishing rights in the area.

About 1,000 fishermen have been protesting the government’s plans to terminate their licenses to fish in the zone, which includes the tunnel and the English Channel.

On Thursday, protesters blocked the port of Caen, one of the main ports for trucks entering Britain. The town is just outside the zone where the fishing permits are at issue.

Fishermen belonging to one group near the tunnel said they would block “all ports of distribution” — a much broader area than current limits put on shipping through the tunnel — to protest the government’s handling of the dispute.

In a press release issued in English and French, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said France imports about half the European Union seafood destined for home consumption.

“Between 2015 and 2016, the number of imported food imports in the U.K. increased by five percent, thereby leading to total imports to the U.K. of about 26 billion euros (U.S. $29 billion),” the release said.

The French newspaper Libération said its investigation found that France’s major retailers had more than 70 percent of all imported French seafood. The highest-potential fishing zone is in north-east France, the paper said.

It quoted French Alliance of Fisheries and Agriculture fishermen a spokesman as saying that France’s climate support measures and its large Mediterranean coastline were more attractive to fish owners. The spokesman also complained that some fish are caught illegally.

Fox News’ Julie Banderas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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