France and Jersey to restart fishing talks after island offers to postpone new post-Brexit rules

France and Jersey to restart fishing talks after island offers to postpone new post-Brexit rules
French fishing vessels protest outside Saint Helier, Jersey. Photo: Sameer al Doumy/AFP
France will reopen negotiations with the Channel Island of Jersey "in the coming hours" over the licensing of French fishing boats after tensions flared about new access rules, Maritime Minister Annick Girardin said on Tuesday.

She told parliament the island – a British crown dependency but not a part of the UK – had offered to postpone its new rules until July.

“Jersey has proposed pushing back these technical restrictions to end-July, so that we can resume talks in the coming hours, and I am going to respond in writing,” she told lawmakers.

She had warned last week that France was weighing “retaliation measures” against Jersey, which under a post-Brexit accord is supposed to allow access to French boats hoping to fish off its coast.

ANALYSIS How far will France’s post-Brexit fishing row with Jersey go?

Fishermen say the new conditions on licenses were imposed without any discussion with Paris, and effectively create new zoning rules.

Paris and London had already clashed over French claims that fishermen are being prevented from operating elsewhere in British waters because of difficulties in obtaining licences.

Last Thursday, around 50 French boats converged on Jersey’s harbour at Saint Helier, prompting Britain to dispatch two Navy vessels in case of a blockade.
   France also deployed police patrol boats, but the standoff ended without any of the incidents such as boat-rammings or stone throwing, which have marred previous protests.

The EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned earlier on Tuesday “there will probably be consequences” for London if it does not honour the trade accords hammered out before its exit from the bloc last January.

“We have a serious problem concerning Jersey, which I don’t understand, unless it’s a question of unwillingness,” Barnier told journalists in the Europresse association.

Member comments

  1. According to the Jersey local Press, the ban on Jersey fishermen landing their catch is back on for ‘security reasons’ and the latest threat is to withhold financial services ‘equivalence’ from Jersey. You would think it would be easier to just supply the evidence required under the Agreement of each vessels historic fishing in Jersey waters. But maybe the evidence is not there and more time to produce it won’t help. If there’s a genuine complaint here, I don’t know why Barnier, the EU etc don’t invoke the arbitration system allowed for under the Agreement. Why all the invective and threats ?

  2. I’m afraid I can see the fishy fingers of the Johnson government all over this. The problem here is a government that has proven itself totally untrustworthy and the blame for this can be laid fair and square at the doors of number 10 Downing Street.

  3. Boris doesn’t care as long as he can present the redtops with someone they can tell the english to hate. This week it’s French or Jersey fishermen, both or either. The english will lap up the heroic gunboats (the whole Royal Navy…) nonsense and the little island of hate is happy.

    Historically, it’s always France, jealousy is so ugly.

  4. I’m a little confused here.
    Jersey was not & is not part of the UK & was never involved in Brexit.
    Ergo NOTHING has changed.
    This may well have been orchestrated from London in perfect time for last week’s elections. Nothing more, nothing less.

  5. All passenger and freight transport between France and Jersey has now also been blocked. It’s now a State blockade of a friendly island under the protection of a NATO ally. What’s going on ?

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