2nd April 1993

A French fisherman is arrested and escorted to St Peter Port

Tensions were running high in the waters surrounding the Channel Islands. It was 1993, and French fishermen were entering the six-mile limit around the islands in which only British boats were allowed to operate. Things came to a head when a British boarding party took over a French trawler on 2 April. Once aboard, they arrested the skipper.

The boat in question was La Calypso, and the skipper was Michel Mesnage. As reported by The Independent of 3 April 1993,

officers [had previously] boarded La Calypso because it was suspected of fishing within the limit. Mr Mesnage allegedly refused to dock in St Peter Port and took three officers to Cherbourg. They were later returned unharmed to the Brocklesby.

On this second occasion, the Ministry of Defence had sent a dozen Royal Marines to Guernsey to accompany the boarding parties and Mesnage was taken to Guernsey for questioning. They arrived in St Peter Port at 4pm on 2 April.

The British and French governments seemingly had no disagreement between themselves over the rights and wrongs of the fishing dispute. France agreed with the UK that French fishermen shouldn’t be so close to the Channel Islands. The French fishermen themselves didn’t have any problems with the Channel Islands fishermen, either. Some did believe that the Marines were causing trouble, though.

Mesnage, charged with illegal fishing and disobeying orders from a fisheries protection officer, appeared in court on 5 April. The French fishermen warned Guernsey’s fishermen not to come to Cherbourg. However, as The Guardian reported on the day of the appearance,

[Three Guernsey fishing boats] docked peacefully at the French port and were expected to unload their catches later today… The French police said ‘they have arrived as normal and everything is quiet’.

Many of the fishermen were unaware of the root of the dispute but, as the same article in The Guardian explained,

An agreement between the French and British government which came into force six months ago limits French fishing in the disputed Schole Bank area to a handful of named vessels. But fishermen at St Peter Port said yesterday they had no objections to the French continuing to work there. Some were unaware of the terms of the agreement before negotiations with the French fishermen in St Peter Port last Monday. The talks came after almost 40 French trawlers arrived in Guernsey last Monday threatening a blockade because of the Schole Bank row.

Mesnage was ultimately fined £3750 and allowed to return to Cherbourg.


FREE Guernsey history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Guernsey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want. We'll also keep you up to date with our latest book releases and early-bird discounts.


Other events that occured in April

Guernsey’s first female murderer goes on trial 1st
A French fisherman is arrested and escorted to St Peter Port 2nd
Guernsey’s new population law comes into force 3rd
Guernsey’s oldest resident dies, aged 110 4th
An occupation-era minefield is discovered at L’Ancresse 5th
Birth of Stone de Croze, the original Guernseyman 6th
The first ever Guernsey stamp is issued 7th
Antiquarian William Collings Lukis was born 8th
Guernsey hosts its first Parkrun at Pembroke 9th
Alderney residents lined the coast to watch Titanic pass 10th
Norfolk pupils spend a week in Guernsey 11th
A plane hit a car while landing at Guernsey Airport 12th
Battery Mirus was test fired for the first time 13th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry fights at Ypres 14th
Guernsey Mormon Sampson Avard dies in Illinois 15th
Lieutenant Governor, Lord Ruthven, died in Bath 16th
Death of the Vicar General of the Channel Islands 17th
TV’s Jeeves is rushed to hospital on Guernsey 18th
Guernsey Airport’s new terminal opened for business 19th
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie film opened 20th
Death of Guernsey-born footballer Len Duquemin
Three Jewish women are deported from Guernsey 21st
Guernsey bigamist got married for the second time 22nd
Aurigny pilot Ray Bowyer spots a UFO near Alderney 23rd
The States of Guernsey registers the gov.gg domain 24th
Guernsey-set film The Sea Devils hits cinemas 25th
Hydrofoil Condor 1 completed its final sea trials 26th
The first Muratti football match takes place 27th
Guernsey passengers stage a ferry sit-in 28th
Guernsey abolishes the death penalty for murder 29th
Finishing touches put to new hospital 30th
Murder suspects steal visitor’s boat from St Peter Port