Brexit fishing outrage – France fumes as trawlermen given 15 days to renew Channel licence

Brexit: EU making Jersey fishing deals difficult says Thompson

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After the UK left the EU on January 1, rules allowing French fishermen to use British waters, such as Jersey, changed. French fishermen now must prove they were fishing in British waters between 2017 2020 to be given a licence. Now, MEPs have weighed in, and blasted “British bad faith” over the fishing row.

Bertrand Sorre, MP for the 2nd constituency of La Manche, said provisional authorisations given to French fishermen are set to expire on September 30.

He then added: “That means in a few days these fishermen have no idea if they will be able to continue to do their jobs.”

Stephanie Yon-Courtin, French MEP for La République En Marche! (LREM), also raged on Twitter about the expiring licences.

She wrote: “In less than 15 days, the provisional licenses to fish in the waters of the Channel Islands expire.

“Faced with British bad faith, it is time to act.”

The LREM MEP also accused Jersey, Guernsey and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of “dragging their feet to implement the Brexit agreement”.

In a video posted on Twitter, Ms Yon-Courtin argued the post-Brexit trade deal “preserves the historic rights of our fishermen”, and added provisional licences given to French trawler-men expired on September 30,

She then added: “As of January 1, only a handful of licenses have been issued, and that’s a real affront. An insult to our fishermen.

“We must certainly preserve the dialogue between the EU and the UK, but if we allow Boris Johnson to disrespect the agreement in Jersey, where will the next hostages of these lies be?

“In Northern Ireland, for example? So it’s time to act.”

The LREM MEP said she has spoken to French Prime Minister Jean Castex and Annick Girardin, French Minister of the Sea, for “three simple requests”.

Ms Yon-Courtin called for “definitive licenses to fish as soon as possible” for French fishers.

She added: “Then, we want a clear agreement on the definition of a replacement vessel to facilitate future entries into the fleet, and finally, we need a local consultation body inspired by the old Granville Bay Treaty, when everything went very well between our fishermen.

“In the European Parliament, we didn’t wait to support the entire fishing industry. Last Wednesday, September 15, we adopted an exceptional reserve of 5 billion euros which is called the Brexit Adjustment Reserve.

“It will finance in particular the 100 million plan announced by Minister Annick Girardin in April 2021 to support French fishing after the effects of Brexit.

“In Jersey as elsewhere, it is time for the British to keep their word.”

On Saturday, hundreds of people protested on Armanville about the expiry deadline for their fishing licenses.

Protestors selected that beach specifically as it hosts the large 90,000 volt cable that runs across the sea bed and supplies the Island of Jersey with electricity.

In May, dozens of French boats blockaded the port of Saint-Helier in Jersey to show their discontent and to defend their fishing rights.

This led to the UK sending two navy patrol ships to circle Jersey until the protest died down.

It comes as Mr Johnson said France should “prenez un grip and donnez-moi un break”, meaning “get a grip and give me a break”, over the Aukus row.

The UK, US and Australia agreed a defence pact which sees London and Washington support Canberra in building nuclear-powered submarines.

The agreement meant Australia scrapped its existing $90billion (£48billion) deal with France for 12 nuclear submarines, agreed in 2016.

The Prime Minister said: “I just think it’s time for some of our dearest friends around the world to prenez un grip about this and donnez-moi un break.

“This is fundamentally a great step forward for global security. It’s three very like-minded allies standing shoulder to shoulder creating a new partnership for the sharing of technology.

“It’s not exclusive. It’s not trying to shoulder anybody out. It’s not adversarial towards China, for instance.

“I find it very hard to see in this agreement anything not to like.”

Additional reporting from Maria Ortega

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