Its Canoes Were Used to Cross the Channel, So It Halted Sales

Decathlon won't sell dinghies in 4 stores in northern France
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2021 8:42 AM CST
Retailer Stops Selling Canoes to Stop Attempts to Cross Channel
A migrants makeshift camp is pictured before its evacuation in Grande-Synthe, Northern France, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. French police were evacuating migrants from a makeshift camp near Dunkirk where at least 1,500 people gathered in hopes of making it across the English Channel to Britain.   (AP Photo/Louis Witter)

(Newser) – A sports equipment retailer has announced it won't be selling kayaks, canoes, and other dinghies in northern France anymore, and not because there's no market for them. Quite the opposite: Decathlon says the move has been made in an effort to curtail the number of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel from points in northern France. And that number is at an all-time high: Some 1,185 people made the crossing via small boat last Thursday, reports the BBC.

"The purchase of canoes will no longer be possible... given the current context," is how Decathalon put it. "We are committed to never putting our customers at risk with the use of our products under any circumstances." Four stores in Calais and Grande-Synthe (near Dunkirk) will no longer have canoes available following Tuesday's decision, reports Reuters, which notes the Channel crossing takes migrants through "some of the world's busiest shipping lanes."

It adds that November's "benign sea conditions" have spurred an uptick in crossings, though the increase isn't confined to recent weeks. Per numbers quoted by the AFP, roughly 15,400 migrants attempted to cross the Channel crossing between January 1 and August 31 this year, compared to a total of 9,500 in 2020, 2,300 in 2019, and 600 in 2018. Though the British government has implored France to do more to stop the crossings, the Guardian reports the decision to halt the sales came from the stores themselves. (Read more migrants stories.)

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