Fisherwoman calls for 'more coverage' of responsible fishing
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Tensions have reached breaking point following a massive row between French fishermen and the island of Jersey after new post-Brexit fishing laws published on Friday reduced French fishing opportunities in the area. French officials insisted the new rules are “null and void” and have now cut all ties with Jersey. And in a huge escalation, the fishermen have now threatened to “cut electricity” to Jersey as a cable runs from northern France to Jersey, in response to the row.
A new post-Brexit licencing law that came into effect in Jersey on Friday has meant French boats that want to fish in Jersey waters need a licence issued by the Jersey Government.
An official list of 41 vessels that had received their licences was published on Friday.
The licences are issued to French boats as long as they can prove they have previously fished in Jersey waters – this includes including proof that they have fished around Jersey on at least 10 occasions in any one of the last three years.
The new laws also place a limit on the number of days for fishing (seven to 170 depending on the boat), restrictions on types of fishing vessels, what equipment they can use, what they can catch and where and there has also been closure of certain fishing areas.
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However, a group of French fisherman and officials have declared the licenses “null and void” and despite the new laws being discussed for months the French authorities have claimed the “inexplicable conditions” have not been discussed with them and that they are “against expectations”
The officials raising their anger at the laws are the President of the Normandy Region Hervé Morin, President of La Manche Council Marc Lefèvre and Chair of the Maison de Normandie and La Manche Jean-Marc Julienne.
French officials said: “At no time, throughout the many discussions we had with Ian Gorst, Jersey’s External Relations Minister, was there a question of additional criteria being added to the licences.
“We are asking the French Government to approach the European Commission to ensure the terms of the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement are respected and applied.”
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But in a dramatic escalation to the fishing row French fisherman have now gone on to threaten that they will “cut the electricity” as a response to the new laws being made as a cable, that runs from Normandy in Northern France, supplies much of Jersey with its electricity.
Officials have gone to the European Commission to complain about the new laws and have even asked the French government to intervene in the row.
And in another shocking action they also announced that the Maison de Normandie et de la Manche, which provides an official link between Jersey and France, and houses the Honorary French Consulate, would be closing after more than 25 years as show of their “discontent” at the new post-Brexit system.
The fury comes as without the new licences the French vessels face prosecution.
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On 1 May Jersey took full control over the management as running of its waters.
This will be legally binding on 1 July when smaller French boats under 12m must hold a licence or face prosecution.
Between 2004 and 31 December last year, the management of Jersey’s waters between three and 12 miles was shared between France and the island under the Bay of Granville Agreement, which was signed by France and the UK in 2000.
Before that, Jersey only had control out to three miles of its waters and the space in between France and Jersey did not belong to anyone.
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