Fishing war deadline: France begins imposing sanctions as tensions erupt in Jersey | Politics | New
Tensions stem from a dispute over how the UK-EU trade deal should be implemented, with France claiming the UK broke the December 2020 Brexit deal by granting only 200 fishing licenses for French fishermen. Two hundred and thirty fishing licenses are still pending.
The deadline for validating these licenses is October 30, after which the French government has announced that it will implement sanctions against the UK.
But Don Thompson, head of the Jersey Fishermen’s Association, told ITV News that the government’s decision to grant even 100 new fishing licenses to French crews was a “death warrant” for the country’s own fishing industry. island, suggesting that some fishermen are facing “certain bankruptcy”.
Emmanuel Macron called on ministers to consider possible retaliatory measures, which would be applied in early November if there were any fishermen without a license.
According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, possible sanctions could include an electricity tariff on the supply of energy to Jersey, which is supplied by France, or the restriction of British access to French ports.
This would have a negative impact on UK fishermen, as they often depend on ports to sell their fishing products.
Protectionist measures, such as the introduction of customs surcharges on British goods sent to the EU through the Channel Tunnel, are also being considered.
But this type of sanction is the direct responsibility of the European common market and the final decision therefore rests with Brussels.
An adviser to the French Minister for the Sea, Annick Gardin, described relations with the United Kingdom as “badly deteriorated”.
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Meanwhile, Jersey refused licenses to 75 French fishing vessels.
Overall, the UK has granted 117 EU licenses for its coastal territorial waters and nearly 1,700 EU vessels have been authorized to fish in the UK’s largest exclusive economic zone, which stretches 200 nautical miles from the shore.
Jersey became a flashpoint for tensions over fishing rights in May, when two Royal Navy vessels were sent to patrol the area after French fishermen staged a protest outside the port of St Helier.
Fishermen have complained that they are being prevented from operating in UK waters due to difficulties in obtaining licenses.
The row led Ms Girardin to threaten to cut off Jersey’s electricity supply, 95% of which is supplied by three submarine cables from France.
According to the French newspaper Le Monde, Ms. Girardin said: âFrench fishing should not be taken hostage by the British for political purposes.
“This is another refusal by the British to apply the conditions of the Brexit agreement despite all the work undertaken together.
âI have only one watchword: obtain definitive licenses for our fishermen as provided for in the agreement.
A spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the UK’s approach “has been reasonable and fully in line with our commitments in the Trade and Agriculture Agreement. cooperation (ACT) “.
âThe government has granted 98% of license applications from EU vessels to fish in our waters.
“The ATT requires EU vessels seeking to fish in the UK’s 6-12 nm area to have a history of fishing activity between 2012 and 2016. The UK has requested evidence of this activity from the European Commission, by receiving some and repeatedly searching, even purchasing commercially available positioning data to build a complete picture.
“We continue to work with the European Commission and the French authorities and remain open to the examination of any other evidence in support of the remaining license applications.”