France fishing row: Deas discusses Jersey's fishing licenses
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Jersey has issued almost 100 new fishing licenses to the French to de-escalate post-Brexit tensions, but new polling data suggests that Britons disapprove of the move and would rather ban all French fishing boats from UK waters. In a poll of 19,207 Express readers held from October 29 to November 1, a staggering 95 percent of voters said Boris Johnson should move to ban all French fishing vessels from British waters after continuous threats from Emmanuel Macron and his government.
One voter, Michael Taylor, commented: “If Macron carries out his threats, ban all French boats from our waters and if the EU doesn’t slap him down and put matters straight, ban all EU boats from our waters.”
In a post-G20 press conference, Macron said Britain must bend to French demands by today, or France would disrupt British trade routes.
He said: “The ball is in Britain’s court. If the British make no movement, the measures of 2 November will have to be put in place.”
Mr Macron, who met Boris Johnson at the COP26 summit on Monday, told reporters the French plan was now on hold pending the outcome of renewed talks.
Over the last few months French ministers have threatened to ban English fishing boats from French ports, and even threatened to cut off Britain’s energy supply.
Their fury arose from the UK Government’s decision to refuse fishing licenses to a minority of French boats which did not submit sufficient evidence to prove a history of fishing in British waters.
Overall, Downing Street has granted licences to almost 1,700 EU vessels to fish in the 12-200 nautical mile zone, and a further 105 licences were issued for vessels to fish in the 6-12 nautical mile zone.
The Brexit deal agreed the UK would have the right to completely exclude EU boats after 2026, but, from now until then, a transitional period will phase out EU boats – allowing fewer and fewer of to fish in UK waters over time.
Last week, French officials claimed more than 200 French fishermen were waiting for licences from the British Government to ply waters between six and 12 miles from British shores, and in particular around Jersey.
On Monday, news surfaced that the British island of Jersey had granted almost 50 additional licences to the French and 49 temporary permits to quell French anger.
However, a poll of 8,844 people held from October 28 to November 1, confirmed that the public disapproved of Jersey’s decision to bend to French demands.
A huge 97 percent of voters said Boris Johnson should have brought in punitive measures against France after ongoing threats.
One reader, Argentus, said: “Why should French (and other EU) fishermen be allowed to destroy our fish stocks and what remains of our fishing industry with impunity?
“Use our military to defend our country’s assets.”
Another, username roadrunner58, agreed: “The Royal Navy should already have been in patrolling our waters, and we should boycott French goods.”
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Meanwhile, in Jersey, the fishing industry has come to a stand-still.
Major shellfish export company Aqua-Mar has had to close its doors completely to local fishermen after the French port the company usually ships to refused to take in Aqua-Mar’s catch.
The company usually exports more than 60 percent of the shellfish caught by fishermen from the Channel Islands into Europe, but the French port of St Malo has closed, disrupting trade and livelihoods.
The Jersey Fishermen’s Association (JFA) is now calling for fishing areas to be closed altogether until the row is resolved.
“It seems wholly unfair that we’re tied up in the harbour with their ports blocked and they’re carrying on with their continued access, it only seems fair that we close our waters.
“Morale is low and we’re angry that we’re in the middle of this – we feel like banging Boris’s and Macron’s heads together – sort it out,” Stephen Viney from the JFA told Sky News.
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