Jersey says it will extend licences for French fishermen after post-Brexit row

Jersey says it will extend licences for French fishermen after post-Brexit row
The climbdown comes after French fishermen staged a blockade. Photo: Sameer Al Doumy/AFP
The government of Jersey said on Monday that it has decided to extend a transitional fishing agreement with the European Union that would allow EU boats - including French ones - to continue operating in its waters for three months.

“The EU has recently requested an extension to the transitional arrangements, which had been due to come to an end on June 30th,” a statement from the Jersey government said, adding that “Jersey Ministers have agreed to that request.”

The tiny island of Jersey, 19km off the coast of France, is a British crown dependancy but not a part of the UK.

Nevertheless, the rights to fish off its coastlines have become entangled with post-Brexit negotiations on the rights of French fishermen.

EXPLAINED Why are French fishermen so angry about Jersey’s fishing licences?

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The issue recently lead to blockades of the Jersey capital of St Helier by French fishing vessels, which the UK government responded to by sending two Royal Navy gunships.

At issue is the new post-Brexit licences granted to French fishermen, which they say represent a significant loss of rights compared to previous licences.

Jersey, which as a crown dependency relies on Britain for defence, has also been alarmed by recent political rhetoric in France which saw a minister threaten to cut off the island’s electricity supplies if no fishing deal was found.

“The relationship with France is hugely important to Jersey in so many ways,” Jersey’s minister for external relations, Ian Gorst, said in the statement.

“We know aspects of that relationship have been difficult recently, but want to ensure we work through the issues, fulfilling the terms of the TCA (Trade and Cooperation Agreement) and ensuring the sustainability of fishing in our waters.”

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