France erupts in fury and issues final fishing ultimatum as chief threatens sanctions

Brexit: EU making Jersey fishing deals difficult says Thompson

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An amnesty period allowing French vessels unfettered access to Jersey waters is due to expire on Thursday, September 30. Crunch negotiations have been taking place over the last few weeks to resolve the issues but Jersey ministers alongside UK officials have yet to reach an agreement with France.

With four days to go before the deadline, French ministers last night accused the British of not respecting their commitments on fishing as part of the Brexit agreement.

The French Ministry of the Sea has requested 169 definitive licences for access to Jersey waters for French fishermen, instead of interim permits.

Annick Girardin, Minister of the Sea, added: “We have licenses which were issued for the majority on a temporary basis until September 30, and we want to transform them into permanent licenses”.

Paris argues if Jersey supported by the UK does not grant the final licenses to French fishermen then it will ask European Union to activate “restrictive measures” in the UK’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU.

These measures could include new customs duties or a form of retaliatory measure.

Europe Minister Clément Beaune said France was “at the end of our patience” with the UK.

He added: “We have been patient, we have obtained results on a certain number of fishing areas and licenses but we are far from the target.

“And we have had to re-mobilise in recent days.”

Jersey Government ministers held talks with counterparts in France’s Normandy region yesterday in a bid to resolve the issue as part of their annual summit.

Environment Minister John Young said the island would continue to issue temporary fishing licenses to French vessels which don’t qualify under the British Crown Dependency’s new licensing rules.

Under the terms of the Brexit trade deal, French vessels have to show evidence of their history of fishing in Jersey waters else they face not being issued with paperwork.

Mr Young added: “We must protect our waters from overfishing, ensuring activity is sustainable and in line with the levels of fishing effort we saw before Brexit.”

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An interim agreement had been due to expire on June 30 under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement but it was extended until September 30.

Protests then took place last Saturday by hundreds of French fishermen ahead of the September 30 deadline on Armanville beach in Normandy

Fishermen claim there are still up to 80 small vessels which are under 12 metres that are waiting to receive a fishing licence.

Downing Street said Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Emmanuel Macron about the issue yesterday in a phone call after the French President was angered by Britain forming a new military pact with the US and Australia.


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