French fishermen warned vessels could be BANNED from Jersey waters – ultimatum issued

French fisherman warns of 'never-ending war' with Jersey waters

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Jersey has failed to strike a long term post-Brexit fishing agreement allowing French vessels to temporarily fish in English Channel waters. Arrangements for fishing in Jersey’s waters had been finalised in the short-term with an amnesty period until May 1st after the end of the transition period.

Fishing in Jersey had previously been managed under the Treaty of the Bay of Granville which presided over the destinies of the fishing rights of French boats in Jersey waters since 1839.

But the Channel Islands had been negotiating with French officials on future access licensing terms since the UK fully left the EU on December 31.

Jersey is not part of the UK and manages fishing vessels licensing themselves as part of the States of Jersey.

As part of an interim deal, French boats were still allowed to fish in the islands’ waters under the Bay of Granville treaty.

But from May 1, the States of Jersey is implementing a new strict proposed licencing regime.

Under the regime, French vessels must prove they have fished in the Channel Islands for ten days in any of the last three years in order to be granted a licence.

Ian Gorst, Jersey’s External Relations Minister said if French vessels hadn’t applied by May 1 then they would not be allowed to fish permanently in Isle waters.

Speaking at a States of Jersey Scrutiny Panel hearing, he issued the ultimatum, saying: “We have given the transitional amnesty until the end of April.

“If that information isn’t with the Jersey minister by the end of April that boat will not be able to fish in our waters.”

Deputies also recommended the Government continue to back Boris Johnson’s Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) as it will tackle ongoing issues about access to shared fishing waters.

A report from the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Panel said the TCA means Jersey would be able to manage its waters as it sees fit.

Meanwhile, Jersey fishing chiefs have published a manifesto that bosses say will help to protect the industry for future generations.

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In the six-step manifesto, chiefs are urging the Jersey Government to protect the island’s sovereignty by granting exclusive fishing rights to Jersey boats within an area of at least three nautical miles around the isle.

Don Thompson, President of the Jersey Fishermen’s Association, said: “It’s about looking after the resource a lot better than we have over the last 20 years.

“We’ve got the potential to do that now, to rebuild fish stocks and of course our fleet will expand again, back to what it should be.”

Only 57 French vessels have been granted access to the waters despite 340 applying.

The total number of French vessels outflanks Jersey’s 75 which are currently licensed to fish.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex and fellow Paris ministers had threatened to withdraw from the UK-EU Brexit trade agreement over the move.

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