Brexit: Barrie Deas says fishing deal is ‘worst of all worlds’
The European Commission and authorities in Jersey have reached an agreement on fishing rights following a post-Brexit dispute. French fishing boats have been granted interim licences until April to land catches in the six-to-12-mile zone off Jersey and Guernsey.
The agreement was finalised after talks on Tuesday between French Minister of the Sea, Annick Girardin, European Commissioner for Fisheries MEP Virginijus Sinkevicius, and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Jersey, Ian Gorst.
The deal has been hailed by French officials who have praised negotiators for not giving up.
Bertrand Sorre, a member of Emmanuel Macon’s La République En Marche! party, said: “Access is guaranteed to all fishermen who were fishing in this area until the end of April and during this period the final licenses will be awarded by the United Kingdom on proposals from the regional fisheries committees.”
In a post on Twitter, Ms Girardin said: “Perseverance pays off.
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“As I had proposed, the provisional fishing licenses are validated for the French and the Jersey people in the waters of the Bay of Granville. Thanks @VSinkevicius Thank you @Ian_Gorst”
Pierre Karleskind MEP for LREM added: “We had asked the EU Commission to negotiate firmly to relieve the situation of Breton and Norman fishermen in the waters of Jersey.
“Happy to see this announcement for provisional licenses!”
The new licence forms parts of a post-Brexit agreement and replaced the previous Granville Bay Agreement (GBA).
Under the GBA, French authorities had the overriding decision on access to waters in Jersey.
The new regulations will give Jersey the sole power to issue licences to boats wishing to fish in its waters.
The post-Brexit era had muddied the waters and resulted in vessels being turned away from fishing ports.
The largest channel island left the EU as part of Brexit but remains self-governing – including on its management of fishing waters.
Under the new agreement, only 57 French vessels were initially granted access to the waters, despite more than 300 applications made.
It meant Jersey outnumbered the number of French boats as it has 75 licenced fleets in operation off its coastline.
Mr Gorst has said Jersey “will always uphold and implement its international obligations” and strengthen ties with France.
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He added: “We will continue to engage with our fishermen and will provide as much information and support as we possibly can now that these new arrangements are in place.
“Jersey’s objectives remain to strengthen relations and our friendship with France, especially in Normandy and Brittany, to conserve fishery resources in our waters and to ensure the prosperity of the local communities which depend for their well-being on access to a sustainable fishery resource in our waters.”
(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)
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