Jersey 'isn't backing down' on fisheries in says expert
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An amnesty period allowing French vessels unfettered access to Jersey waters is due to expire on September 30 – before new measures come into place. From October 1, French vessels have to show evidence of their history fishing in Jersey waters else they face not being issued with licences.
Crunch negotiations have been taking place over the last few weeks to resolve the issues but Jersey ministers, alongside UK officials, have yet to reach an agreement with France.
However, after the United States and Britain signed a nuclear submarine deal with Australia, causing Australia to scrap a previous $40 billion French-designed submarine deal, tensions between London and Paris have grown.
Paris was outraged about Australia negotiating with Washington and London behind its back, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian denouncing it as “treachery” and a “stab in the back”.
French officials were notified about the loss of the contract just hours before US President Joe Biden unveiled the new so-called AUKUS security and defence partnership between the three English-speaking countries, which includes the submarine deal.
Deputy Gregory Guida, Jersey’s Home Affairs Minister, said: “I think the French are quite unhappy about it but, from reading about it, I think the deal was almost unavoidable.
“But it is a bit of an insult to the French and it has made them extremely angry so it is not going to help our situation.
“I think it could impact on the whole of Brexit – we must remember that fishing in Jersey is important from a sovereignty perspective but economically it is only a very small part.”
A dispute over the licences started in May when France and Britain sent patrol vessels off the shores of Jersey after a flotilla of French fishing boats sailed to the island in protest.
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An interim agreement had been due to expire on June 30 under the UK’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union, but it was extended until September 30.
Protests then took place on Saturday by hundreds of French fishermen ahead of the September 30 deadline on Armanville beach in Normandy
Fishermen claim that only 70 out of the 169 licences applied for have so far been given.
But Deputy Gilda said ministers were poised to announce how many licences we are issuing within days.
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Andrew Rosindell, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Channel Islands, added to the JEP: “Unfortunately, the way that the French has thrown their toys out the pram over the recent announcement that Australia would be supplied with new nuclear-powered submarines does not bode well for a sensible, grown-up discussion about these issues.
“Hopefully I will be proven wrong.”
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