The trawler, which was held up due to a paperwork infraction, has become a symbol of a bigger feud between the United Kingdom and France over fishing rights in the English Channel.

Although the catch amounts are
Although the catch amounts are "relatively modest", France insists on getting licenses to fish in UK waters as a matter of principle. (AFP)

A British-registered scallop boat caught up in a post-Brexit spat between the UK and France over fishing licenses has been released by French authorities.

Andrew Brown, head of public affairs for Macduff Shellfish, which owns the scallop dredger, said on Wednesday the Cornelis Gert Jan had departed Le Havre in northern France.

“We are pleased to have this matter resolved and delighted that our crew and vessel are now able to return home,” Brown said.

French maritime police seized the vessel off the Normandy coast last week and detained its skipper and crew.

The vessel's departure comes a day ahead of talks between British Brexit Minister David Frost and French Europe Minister Clement Beaune in Paris on Thursday aimed at finding a solution to the crisis.

READ MORE: France detains British trawler, fines boats amid deepening fishing row

“Caught in a political game”

The French and British governments have traded threats and allegations for weeks over French demands for licenses to fish in UK waters.

Fishing is a tiny industry economically for both countries but with outsized political importance, and the dispute has mushroomed into an important test for UK’s relations with the European Union after Brexit.

France sees the fishing row as a matter of principle, and has accused UK of breaching its legally binding divorce deal with the European Union, which sets the rules for fishing in the post-Brexit era.

While British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday made it clear that London's position had not changed there are signs both sides favour diplomacy in a bid to avoid the situation worsening.

France has threatened to ban British boats from unloading their catches at French ports and to subject all British imports to inspections.

READ MORE: France steps back in fishing row, rules out sanctions against UK

Source: TRTWorld and agencies