Brexit: French fishermen ‘conflicting’ with Jersey says expert
The Crown Dependency, which is not part of the UK but often aligns policies and agreements, had discussions with their France counterparts after Brexit was finally finalised late last year. The new deal, which is in the process of ratification, will now allow French vessels indefinite access to the isle’s waters from April 1, which will also be reciprocated for Guernsey’s vessels in French waters.
Compared to the Brexit trade deal agreed by the UK, which includes a five-year transition period with decreasing quotas for how much fish EU vessels can catch, French vessels have no restrictions.
Guernsey authorities said they had reaffirmed “their attachment to a cooperative relationship for the mutual benefit of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and Normandy”.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache said: “The new UK-EU Trade Agreement, the TCA, marks the beginning of a new chapter in the Bailiwick’s relationship with the EU, specifically with France and in the historic connection with Normandy.
“The Government of Guernsey is committed to implementing the agreement in a fair way to ensure there is a stable and predictable relationship for trade and fisheries with the EU, and through that Normandy.
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“I took the opportunity to ensure that the strategic importance of the direct cable connection with France was understood, this will need further discussion when the TCA fisheries licensing regime has been fully implemented.
“It was clear from the discussion that we have made a good start to this new relationship.”
President of the Regional Council of Normandy Hervé Morin said: “It is always a pleasure to be able to work closely with our friends and partners in the Channel Islands.
“The Normandy Regional Council wishes to reaffirm its commitment to maintaining and strengthening the ties between us, for the mutual benefit of everyone.”
It comes as island fishermen complained their own fishing boats were “not able to land any fish” in France since the transition period ended.
Barry Paint, President of the Guernsey Fishing Association, claimed one member had been told he was “on no account can he go to France to unload his fish”.
He added: “It appears that a market has been closed to us for the time being.
“So what we’ve got to is look for somewhere else to sell, which we’re in the process of doing.”
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Dougal Lane, Vice President of the Association, further warned he “would be out of work completely” because of the French restrictions.
He added: “At the moment I’m doing a few jobs on the boat to tide me over but it can’t keep on.”
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