French fishermen given more time to fish in Jersey waters

Published on
June 29, 2021
Jersey's main port of Saint Helier

French fishermen fishing in waters off the island of Jersey have been granted three more months to fish in the area without meeting post-Brexit permit conditions.

The European Union had requested an extension to transitional arrangements between the U.K. and E.U., which had originally been due to come to an end on 30 June, the BBC reported. The government of Jersey – an island and British Crown dependency off the coast of France – agreed to the extension. The new extension will last until the end of September.

Tensions in the region first flared in May, as dozens of French fishing boats set off for the main port of Jersey threatening a blockade. In response to the threats, the U.K. sent two Royal Navy gunboats to keep watch, as fishermen sounded horns, lit off flares, and displayed banners of protest.

Tensions escalated further when French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin threatened to cut off power to the island in retaliation for blocked fishing access to French fishing vessels. The fishermen accused the U.K. of delaying the issuance of licenses to small French fishing vessels – licenses required as part of the U.K.’s post-Brexit trade deal with the E.U.

Now, the vessels that have submitted applications for licenses will be given more time to fish in the region, according to the BBC. Jersey has also requested that the E.U. submit evidence of existing applications by the end of July.

In return, Jersey authorities have asked that the E.U. will also extend access for local boats that fish in E.U. waters.

The situation in Jersey has been complicated by the island’s unique governmental status – it is not a part of the U.K., and it was never technically a part of the E.U. As a “Crown dependency,” the island has control over its fishing waters, but ultimately the U.K. government is responsible for its international relationships.  

Photo courtesy of rzoze19/Shutterstock

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