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More French Licences To Fish In Jersey

Two more permanent licences and 18 more temporary licences have been given to French vessels to fish in Jersey waters from Friday 29 October.

Government officers met officials from France, the UK, and the European Commission yesterday morning - before the French government made threats to stop Jersey and UK fishermen from using its ports and cutting electricity to the Channel Islands.

In that meeting, it was agreed that 162 French vessels would be licenced to fish in Jersey's territory.

113 are permanent and 49 are temporary. The 49 have until the end of January 2022 to provide more data to secure a permanent licence.

55 vessels have been denied permits and have been told to stop fishing here after Sunday 31 October.

The government says the door remains open for the 55 that haven't been given a licence to provide more data or make new applications that meet the criteria of the post-Brexit trade deal.

"This demonstrates Jersey’s responsive approach to assessing all the data it receives. This is a complex, evidence-based process, and we will continue to approach it with good faith. We have made ourselves available for further clarification and discussion when needed. Jersey has drawn upon the material provided by the EU, as well as the Government of Jersey’s own records, supplemented by commercially available information, to license every vessel for which evidence of a qualifying track record can be found.

"We will continue to work closely with French authorities, the UK and the EU Commission – in accordance with the TCA – to ensure that vessels which are entitled to a permanent licence are able to receive one and can continue fishing in Jersey’s territorial waters in accordance with their historic track record."

The French government threatened retaliatory measures from Tuesday 2 November because of unhappiness that many of its vessels were denied permits.

It claims that the post-Brexit deal is not being respected and their fishermen are not being given the licences they are entitled to.

Speaking on French radio station RTL, Minister of the Sea, Annick Girardin says she disputes Senator Ian Gorst's comments that French sanctions are 'disproportionate':

"Four retaliatory measures will be put in place from the 2nd of November against the British. Disproportionate? They are not.

"We defend our rights, our fishermen and our coastline. When you put your signature at the bottom of an agreement, you respect it."

In response - Assistant Environment Minister Deputy Gregory Guida, who was born in Paris, told Channel 103 he was ashamed of their behaviour:

"It's kindergarten techniques, or give me all your marbles or I'll hit you on the head.

"It's very silly, I thought we were in a different century than that and that we could negotiate that properly, that we could follow protocols and procedures.

"There are ways of doing that right. Starting to throw your toys out of the pram is not really the way of doing this, it's not terribly nice for France to show that to the rest of the world.

Deputy Gregory Guida spoke to Jersey fishermen who blockaded the harbour earlier this year.

"How will the rest of the world look at France when they want to have a contract with them, saying we can buy electricity from you but if you have the slightest problem with anything even vaguely related to it, you'll just throttle it and not supply electricity?

"They're damaging their international credibility to a level they don't seem to be understanding."

The UK government has called France's threats 'disappointing and disproportionate'.

It's also put on record its support for Jersey and Guernsey's handling of the decisions for issuing licences.

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