Fishing threats ‘going to cause a lot of harm’ says expert
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And third-generation fisherman Jack Bailey has accused them of having “no respect” and of cutting shellfish pot lines amid anger over Brexit. Mr Bailey, who catches lobster and crab aboard his 20ft boat, said piles of red tape have put the island’s fleet at a disadvantage.
I won’t back down no matter what the French do
However he refuses to give up the trade he has worked in for 20 years, saying: “I won’t back down no matter what the French do.”
The Channel Island of Jersey – located just 16 miles off the French coast – is caught up in a row between France and Britain over fishing licences.
French President Emmanuel Macron has threatened to block British boats from landing their catches in French ports if the situation is not resolved.
Speaking on Wednesday aboard his boat White Waters, Mr Bailey, 25, called for much of the paperwork faced by the Jersey fleet to be scrapped.
Pointing to a French fishing boat nearby, he said: “What infuriates me the most is for me to sell my stuff into Europe I’ve got to fill out 10 bits of paper.
“It’s got to get all checked by the vet, but he can fish alongside me, go back to France that day and not have any of that paperwork.
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Mr Bailey, who has worked on fishing boats since he was five, suggested that was “discrimination”.
He added: “I know they’ve got to make a livelihood as well.
“But it’s just got to be a fair playing field – it’s got to be level.
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“If one end’s gaining more, the other’s going to be p***ed off. That’s what a lot of the Jersey fleet are feeling like now.”
Explaining differences in how Jersey and French boats go about fishing, he said: “We’re going north and south and they’ll be shooting their nets east and west and they’ve just got no respect, they’ll just cut it.
“You’ll be missing pots out of your string.”
Asked how the seabed is divided up, Mr Bailey said it is a “gentlemen’s agreement”.
He added: “You don’t touch his pots, he don’t touch yours.
“Sometimes he’ll shoot his pots over the top of you, you just rejoin them, just out of respect.
“The last couple of years with the French they haven’t bothered, they’ve just gone ‘oh you’ve started this, we’re finishing it’.”
He said the last two years, following the Brexit vote, have been the “worst years I’ve known it”.
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