Brexit fishing row latest: Five current sticking points explained

Brexit: Fishing industry was 'sacrificed' by government says Deas

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Brexit fishing rows have kept the UK, France, and the EU locked in a bitter exchange for years, with frequent political skirmishes igniting over the English Channel. The debate comes as the EU remaps its boundaries and has splintered into a selection of different issues. has compiled some of the most pertinent as the EU hands down a December 10 resolution deadline.

Licensing issues

The UK and France have allotted waters they can fish in without a licence.

If they want to travel beyond these, they have to meet qualifying criteria set out by either nation.

France claims British officials have not granted the warranted number of licenses to French fishermen, however.

In September, these officials confirmed they had only licensed 12 of the 47 applications received from small boats.

Earlier this month, the Government said it had licensed 1,700 EU vessels in 2021 but declined to specify how many smaller vessels have received them.

Le Havre

British officials have levelled similar criticisms at their French counterparts over the last year.

In October, France detained and fined two British fishing trawlers at the port of Le Havre.

Port operators claimed one obstructed checks, and the other came without the required license.

But they eventually announced neither had breached local regulations.

The British Government announced it would implement a “calibrated” response.

Channel Islands

The UK administrates the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey as Crown Dependencies.

But they are primarily independent and issue their own licences to fishing boats operating in local waters.

Officials have ended up in the same position as the mainland UK Government.

They are wrapped in a “complex, evidence-based process” to meet licensing quotas for French vessels.

The French election

Although not quite a sticking point, some pundits have claimed the fishing dispute is dragging out due to the French election.

They believe Emmanuel Macron is attempting to bolster support from France’s northern fishing regions ahead of the race next April.

Picking a fight with the UK has added political value, focussing his presidency on “protecting” French waters that will run well with local patriots.

With Angela Merkel near the end of her tenure as German Chancellor, he may also be attempting to step into her shoes as de facto EU leader.

December 10

A point of friction between the UK, France and EU is December 10, when the final joint decision is due on fishing licenses.

British officials have one more day to authorise 53 outstanding licence applications.

But Downing Street has stated it does not accept the EU imposed deadline.

French sea minister Annick Girardin has pledged litigation if the UK fails to meet it.

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