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British cannot close off fishing waters post Brexit: France

French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume (pictured March 13, 2019) told a meeting of fisheries professionals that France "[does] not accept" Britain attempting to close its waters to EU fishermen after Brexit
French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume (pictured March 13, 2019) told a meeting of fisheries professionals that France "[does] not accept" Britain attempting to close its waters to EU fishermen after Brexit AFP/File
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Boulogne-sur-Mer (France) (AFP)

French Minister of Agriculture Didier Guillaume said Thursday it was "not possible" for Britain to close its waters to French and other EU fishermen after Brexit.

"We do not accept that... that is not what we want," Guillaume told a meeting of fisheries professionals in the Channel port of Boulogne.

"Nobody would understand why, because of Brexit, the British would close off their territorial waters".

Britain is set to leave the European Union in just a week's time on March 29 unless London wins an extension to its scheduled departure.

Guillaume stressed London and the EU would have to agree on future fishing cooperation in the English Channel but insisted "we are confident" and "we are combative because we are resolutely out to defend French fishing and French fishermen".

The minister added that French fishing boats should continue to fish as normal but warned that in the event of restrictions in British waters "we shall use all state means at our disposal... to achieve compensation.

"We shall leave not one fisherman in difficulty ... because of Brexit," concluded Guillaume, stressing that the French fishing industry should not suffer as a result of Britain's departure from the bloc.

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