French fishermen clashed with British boats out catching scallops in the English Channel this week. BBC noted that the incident happened about "12 nautical miles (22km) off the Normandy coast, near the Bay of Seine." In a potentially dangerous encounter, boats got very close to each other, while rocks and other objects were thrown. Euro News described it as a "maritime the coast of Normandy."

French confronted British outside of their scallop season

It seems that the French are not actually inside their scallop season which starts in October.

However, they may have deliberately gone to encounter the UK boats to protest against the British fishing the area. Euro News reported that the French fishermen describe the British activities in the Normandy waters as "British Pillaging." Apart from the problems that stocks have fallen over the years, the French are angry because they can only fish the waters between 1st October and 15the May in terms of French law. The British boats are able to fish year-round.

Metal shackles, smoke bombs and rocks caused damage to fishing boats

Larger British vessels did agree to stay out of the shallower waters, but that didn't bring down the French temper. Footage shown by EVN France Television showed smoke bombs thrown, rocks and metal shackles hurled, and even a near-collision.

BBC notes that the French demand the British wait until open season in October so everyone can get some of the scallops. In response, the British boats now demand protection to carry out their legal and legitimate business. Around 40 French boats confronted the boats from the UK.

Ongoing row over fishing rights that started years ago

The French boats outnumbered the British by nearly 10 to 1 and they were successful in chasing them away. It's particularly interesting to note that Euro news pointed out this is not the first clash. It's not even the most serious incident. In 2012, "the British government requested help from the French Navy to break up a standoff in the English Channel." The French fishermen allege the UK boats are intruding into protected waters outside of season.

Scottish White Fish Producers Association chief executive, Mike Park, told BBC Scotland that what the French did was "piracy and the UK boats are "fully entitled to be there. UK vessels can enter that French zone, it's not illegal." Meanwhile, the French Normandy fishing chief, Dimitri Rogoff, said that "Scallops are a flagship product for Normandy, a primary resource and a highly sensitive issue."

Appeals for calm were issued and it's believed that the matter should be discussed at a table rather than on the sea at night. It's not yet clear that the British government will be abe to provide any protection for the British scallop fishermen fishing off the Normandy coast.