Jersey: Fisherman criticises France over electricity ‘threat’
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Last night’s episode of BBC Question Time opened on whether the UK was right to send Royal Navy ships to Jersey. Boris Johnson approved the deployment of HMS Severn and HMS Tamar after French fishers and ministers threatened a blockade of the islands main port.
An audience member told host Fiona Bruce to “turn the question around” and attacked French fishers for the protest
He added: “What on earth gave the the French the right to suddenly start blockading a British port?
“The only mistake that the Royal Navy made was not sinking the ships in the first place.
‘It’s an absolutely disgusting thing to have done, and to try and justify it by saying ‘well we should have been diplomatic’, where were they? Shouldn’t they have started the diplomacy?”
On Thursday morning, around 60 French fishing boats protested over their post-Brexit rights to work in Jersey.
The ships protested at St Helier, with two Royal Navy ships and two French vessels sent to the area to monitor the demonstration.
French fishers arrived at the harbour at 7am in a sea of red flare smoke, and remained there for 15 hours, according to the BBC.
The issues centres around new post-Brexit fishing laws, published last Friday, and concerns of reduced French fishing opportunities in the area.
The licences are issued to French boats as long as they can prove they have previously fished in Jersey waters – including proof that they have fished around Jersey on at least 10 occasions in any one of the last three years.
Mr Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron are said to want to end the conflict with “peace talks” according to a source.
A senior Government source told the Times that both the UK and French sides were keen to “dial down the rhetoric” before the G7 summit next month.
The source added: “We’re a bit like a pair of brothers.
“We’re the closest allies and there is no fundamental unhappiness but things are bumpy.”
Meanwhile, the EU has furiously accused the UK of breaching the terms of their post-Brexit trade deal.
In Brussels Vivian Loonela, European Commission spokeswoman, said “additional conditions” attached to the new licences were a breach of the Brexit trade deal.
She added: “On April 30, the Commission was notified by the UK authorities of granting 41 licences to the EU vessels fishing in Jersey territorial waters from 1 May.
“But there were additional conditions set to these licences.
“We have following the receiving of this, indicated to the UK that we see that the provisions of the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, that we recently agreed, have not been met there, have not being respected.”
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