Fishing: tensions between Paris and London around Jersey, France threatens retaliation

French Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin on Tuesday denounced the fishing conditions imposed on French sailors in Jersey waters, going so far as to implicitly threaten to cut off the current on the Anglo-Norman island if the agreement reached within the framework of Brexit was not respected.

There is water in the gas between the French and the British around the island of Jersey.

Paris strongly denounced this Tuesday, through the voice of the Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin, the fishing conditions imposed on French sailors in the waters of the island. According to his ministry, the United Kingdom on Friday published a list of 41 French vessels authorized to fish there: 41 authorizations out of 344 requests made by sailors.

And this circumscribed green light is matchedi new requirements. The deputy of the Channel Bertrand Sorre (LREM) who challenged Annick Girardin, cited the example of a fisherman from Granville, used to fishing scallops and whelks “on average 40 days per year” in Jersey waters. He found out that he could now go there “only eleven days” in 2021 “and only for the shell, disappeared the whelk!” he reported.

What Paris criticizes London for not having notified before these conditions, as provided for in the agreement to leave the United Kingdom from the EU.

French Minister of the Sea promises retaliatory measures “permitted by agreement”, citing the “transmission of electricity by submarine cable” which supplies the island from France.

On fisheries, post-Brexit deal leaves questions unanswered

As a reminder, the post-Brexit trade agreement obtained with forceps at the end of 2020 allows European fishermen to continue to access UK waters for a transition period of 5.5 years, after which they will have to gradually relinquish 25% of their catch.

But the United Kingdom is issuing authorizations to French vessels in a trickle. Example in Hauts-de-France, where 88 licenses were granted to French fishermen out of the 163 requested.

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Access to the 6-12 nautical miles, or areas between 6 and 12 nautical miles off the British coast, full of fish and often quieter to navigate, poses a problem for many French ships that used to go there .

Another problem: the distribution of stocks in waters shared with the British. London and Brussels have only agreed on temporary quotas until July. For afterwards, it is still the unknown.

By tightening these conditions of access to its waters, the United Kingdom therefore seems to want to weigh in the negotiations. Opposite, France uses another lever. Last week, she threatened to block the issuance of authorizations for the financial services that UK financial firms need to do business in the EU.

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