The fishermen are angry at the British government for not granting more licenses to fish in UK waters — and angry at their own government for not doing more to defend them.
French fishing crews are threatening to block French ports and traffic under the English Channel on Friday to disrupt the flow of goods to the UK, in a dispute over post-Brexit fishing licenses.
Fishing crews are expected to use their boats to block ports in Calais, Saint-Malo and Ouistreham, and to use cars to block the highway leading to the tunnel beneath the Channel.
"This is our demonstration of the quality and ability of professional fishermen to mobilise in response to the UK's provocative, contemptuous and humiliating attitude towards them," said Gerard Romiti, President of National Maritime Fisheries Committee.
French fishermen are angry at the British government for not granting more licenses to fish in UK waters — and angry at their own government for not doing more to defend them.
It’s the latest tension point between the neighboring countries, who are also trading blame for not doing enough to prevent the deaths of at least 27 migrants whose boat sank Wednesday off Calais, in the choppy waters of the world’s busiest shipping route.
"We are disappointed by threats of protest activity," Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said on Thursday.
"It obviously will be a matter for the French to ensure that there are no illegal actions and that trade is not affected but we continue to monitor the situation closely."
The fishing industry is economically tiny but symbolically important for both Britain and France.
Under a deal agreed by Britain and the EU late last year, European fishing vessels can continue to ply UK waters if they can prove they operated there in the past.
But Paris says dozens of French boats have had their applications to fish the UK's rich waters rejected, an assessment strongly contested by London.
The total volumes affected are tiny in terms of overall France-UK bilateral trade.
But analysts say Macron is keen to take a hardline against Johnson as he eyes re-election in a 2022 poll while the British premier is also keen to talk tough in the wake of Brexit.