Jersey is 150 kilometers from Great Britain and only 25 kilometers from the French coast, but is owned by the British Crown. Its position in the English Channel means that the island not only has an abundance of French place names – it also draws 95 percent of its electricity from France via an underwater cable.
In front of the House of Commons, Fisheries Minister Annick Girardin had recently commented on a possible shutdown of the power supply: “I would be very sorry if we had to go that far”. But, Girardin went on, “we’ll do that if we have to.” The British government had recently acted “repugnant”.
Fishing rights are at the center of the dispute. Specifically, the question of where French fishermen are allowed to cast their nets under the new Brexit regulation and where not. And jersey is the main focus.
Last Friday, 41 French fishing boats were licensed to sail in waters around the Channel Island. However, according to the French side, these licenses are associated with restrictions that have not been agreed beforehand.
Who is allowed to fish where and when?
Among other things, it concerns the number of days French boats are allowed to fish in Jersey waters. In some cases, these have been reduced from around 40 to barely more than ten, a politician complained to the House of Commons. According to Minister Girardin, such requirements are “completely unacceptable”. “If we accept that in Jersey, it will jeopardize our access to the sea elsewhere.”
The British side rejects the allegations of influencing the fishing regulations. Incidentally, so it is said from London, Jersey, as crown possession, is itself responsible for issuing licenses.
Jersey has its own administration and legislation to a large extent. The head of administration is the Bailiff, who also presides over the island parliament and the highest court. The British government is only responsible for the defense of the islands and for their representation abroad.