Fishing FURY: Tense spat erupts between Jersey and EU after bloc lodge complaint
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Eurocrats lodged the complaint about claims Jersey’s government did not fully inform their French counterparts about the closure of a fish breeding ground for Bream. The order, put forward earlier this year but has recently come to an end, prevented all fishing vessels from fishing in the Bream-spawning grounds to the north of the British Crown Dependency.
It comes after a French vessel was sanctioned by Jersey authorities for working in the area whilst restrictions were in place.
John Young, Jersey’s Environment Minister, added of the complaint: “The order for the bream area was a new one and the EU had complained that we had not given proper notice of it, so there are a number of circumstances that surrounded that.
“You have still got to go through a proper process of giving notification to the EU and they complained formally to the British government, saying we had not done that.”
Jersey and France with support of the European Union have been at loggerheads for the last four months after the Channel Island authorities attempted to introduce new strict post-Brexit licensing laws for fishing.
But France and Britain, who partially manage some foreign relations for the Channel Island, both deployed maritime patrol vessels to the area after a flotilla of French trawlers sailed to Jersey’s main harbour, St Helier, to protest against the new legislation in May.
An amnesty was agreed until September 30 which suspended full implementation of Jersey’s new rules for French vessels.
Officials are currently undertaking negotiations to resolve the licence issue.
Speaking about the deadline, Deputy Young said he was not keen to extend the transition period any further beyond September 30.
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But the Jersey minister could not be drawn on how confident he was that that would not happen.
The Minister added to the Jersey Evening Post: “I can understand how our fishermen feel aggrieved but we are making progress and we are not going to be allowed to have an uncontrolled situation continue any longer than necessary.
“Am I confident [that the transition period will not be extended]?
“Well we are working hard to avoid the situation where have to make further extensions and officers are working very hard on the issues which were raised by the EU.”
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Lord Frost, who supported Jersey ministers in the row has claimed “too many” in Europe had thought there would be no change in fishing arrangements for five-and-a-half years.
Speaking earlier this summer, he added: “We have the right to regulate our own waters in a totally different way, to licence fishing vessels and so on, and obviously getting used to that is at the root of some of the difficulty.”
Lord Frost said he was sure the Jersey situation would “settle down” but made clear: “We don’t choose gunboat diplomacy but obviously we were reacting to a demonstration that could have caused severe practical problems for Jersey, and it didn’t cause any problems, and I like to think that our naval presence was part of that.”
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