The UK said on Tuesday it would apply to EU small boats for 12 out of 47 applications for new fishing licenses in its territorial waters, which angered France.
French fishermen are angry over how Britain controlled EU boats’ access to its waters when it pulled out of the block.
London says it has adopted a “reasonable approach”, issuing about 1,1700 EU boat licenses for fish in Britain’s special economic zone, which is 12-200 miles off the coast.
A total of 117 have been released for the 6-12 mile zone.
“With regard to the 6-12 mile zone, EU ships will have to provide evidence of track record of fishing activities in these waters,” the government said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We are considering applications for vessels less than 12 meters in length in this zone and based on the available evidence, we are able to license 12 of the 47 applications.”
But French Maritime Minister Enrique Gerardine called it a “refusal to implement the terms of a new British Brexit agreement.”
French fishing should not be held hostage by the British for political purposes.
Other requests were rejected due to insufficient evidence that boats were caught in the area between 2012 and 2016, as stipulated in a post-Brexit agreement between London and Brussels last year.
“We are continuing to work with the Commission and the French authorities and will consider any evidence provided to support the remaining license applications,” he added.
London insisted that its approach was reasonable and fully in line with our commitments under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).
The list of successful aircraft is due to be published on Wednesday.
France says 87 applications have been submitted, with differences revolving around licenses for ships that replace old boats that used to fish in the area.