Brexit: Femi Oluwole clashes with Ben Habib on NI Protocol
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The Jersey Fishing Association also claimed Jersey ministers were trying to start a war with French counterparts over post-Brexit fishing rights. It comes after the Jersey Government agreed to a second amnesty period until June 30th to allow French fishermen access to the islands waters following demands from Paris and Brussels.
An agreement was reached in January to allow EU boats to continue to fish in the British Crown Dependency waters until May 1st as a new post-Brexit license system was developed by the Jersey Government.
But France and the EU complained this was not enough time for French fishermen primarily from Normandy and Brenton to apply for new licences granting permission to fish within the isle’s 12-mile limit.
Under the amnesty period, French boats were still allowed to fish in the islands’ waters without a licence.
However, in a statement, the Jersey Fishing Association said: “It would seem that ministers, in approving the amnesty extension, are keen to appease a rather hostile French government while being apparently oblivious to the fact that we have a struggling fleet of our own.”
The Association said the new post-Brexit arrangements for island fishing would “continue much of the previous imbalance and bias of fishing rights, favouring France, in Jersey’s waters, that existed under the catastrophic Granville Bay Treaty.”
They also claimed an increasing number of Jersey fishermen had recorded losses of their fishing gear with their pots being “needlessly towed away by French vessels and lost, thus depriving Jersey fishermen of the ability to earn a living in their own waters.”
It comes as Jersey’s Environment Minister said it was considering closing some island waters to all fishing boats to preserve stocks and protect breeding grounds.
John Young said: “There are now four occasions that I’m aware of in the last week where we have had a large number of vessels off the west of the island.
“That anecdotally reflects what we know, which is that we’ve not seen that number of boats in our waters for many years, and those boats are not ones that have regularly fished in our waters.
“The whole point of the amnesty was to allow those boats that have fished here historically to continue doing so.
“This is not acting within the spirit of the agreement and the goodwill that we’ve put forward is not being reciprocated.
“There is obviously some very intensive fishing happening and that could reduce stocks probably to a point where they are fished out.”
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Mr Young has asked his counterpart, External Relations Minister Ian Gorst, to make representations to the French and the EU to ask them to abide by the agreement as well.
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.
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