Mr Travert said in an interview with the television channel CNews: “Most British fishermen are Brexiteers, and we must acknowledge that Britain’s fast approaching exit [from the EU] is stoking already heightened tensions.”
From a legal standpoint, it is “not illegal” for British ships to operate in the expansive Baie de Seine that stretches from Cherbourg to Dunkirk, because the French have “their own dredging calendar to better manage the resource,” he continued.
Scallops, known as “coquilles Saint-Jacques” in France, are one of just a few species whose catch is governed by national rather than EU regulations.
While France bans all scallop dredging between May 15 and October 1, Britain allows its vessels to operate year-round. British ships, however, have no access to French territorial waters up to 12 nautical miles (22km) off the coast.
The French Navy is ready to step in if more clashes break out
Last week, violent clashes erupted off France’s northern coast after British fishermen accused the French of chasing them out of the Baie de Seine and hurling insults and projectiles.
French fisherman, frustrated that their British counterparts can dredge for scallops all year round while they are forbidden from doing so during summer months, said they came under a violent counter-attack.
The bitter row shines light on the simmering problems between European member states over fishing, a subject that is likely to become increasingly touchy as Britain negotiates its post-Brexit trade relationship with Brussels.
After the historic dispute, known as the “Scallop Wars,” flared up five years ago, French and British fishermen struck yearly agreements under which the British agreed to limit their scallop dredging in the Baie de Seine in exchange for some French scallop permits.
But those agreements have stalled in the past two years, French fishermen say, citing Britain’s departure from the EU as a possible reason.
Mr Travert added the French Navy had been mobilised and was ready to intervene if clashes between the fishermen erupt again on the open seas.
Mr Travert warned: “We can’t keep going on like this, we can’t keep having skirmishes like that.
“The French Navy is ready to step in if more clashes break out.”
Mr Travert also said that he had spoken to his British counterpart and that talks to resolve the ongoing dispute were due on Wednesday.