‘Unwilling to cooperate!’ Irate French fishermen protest against UK’s post-Brexit rules

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Over the weekend scores of fishermen gathered in Normandy to publicly voice their dismay at Jersey’s permit system – due to be introduced at the end of this month. When the withdrawal agreement was enacted in January – French boats were supposed to show they have a history of fishing in its waters.

Access has been granted based on how much fishing they did there between February 2017 and January 2020.

While some skippers have provided comprehensive information, others haven’t and say they have been given much less access to the waters than they had been expecting.

In May around 60 French fishing boats blockaded Jersey’s main port of St Helier – prompting the Crown Dependency to delay implementing the system until the end of this month.

With the end date looming, French fishermen have again begun voicing their displeasure at the rules.

Many claim that smaller boats should be exempt from providing a history of their activities brought in since Brexit.

French MP Bertrand Sorre claimed that some smaller boats do not know this information because they are not fitted with GPS trackers.

He told ITV news: “We can’t systematically provide proof.

“The regional fisheries committee has done a great job, that is to say, providing all the documents that it was possible to provide.

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“Today, we really have the feeling that the Jersey and English authorities are unwilling to restore this serenity and the possibility of practicing their profession.”

“There is also concern that some fishermen will not know whether they can carry on working if paperwork is not complete by the end of the month.

“Today we find ourselves in a situation of complete impasse, with a countdown underway.

“This means that in a few days’ time, these fishermen will have no idea whether they will be able to continue their work, whether they will be able to access these fishing zones which are vital for them.”

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The protest took place in Armanville – where cables that supply around 95 percent of Jersey’s electricity leave mainland France.

There has long been talk of Emmanuel Macron’s republic shutting down the island’s power should the ongoing spat fail to be resolved.

It remains to be seen whether this will materialize.

But Noëlle Leforestier, the Mayor of Pirou, warned that Jersey should cooperate to ensure an amicable solution is found.

She said: “Why is it (the protest) here in Armanville?

“Because a 90,000 volt power cable runs from here to supply power to Jersey and so it’s to show Jersey that we have been in solidarity with their energy needs and that they should also make an effort to be in solidarity with our fishermen.”

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