France’s fishermen ready to fight Jersey for water access ‘Burning tyres not enough’

Brexit 'solely responsible' for fishing issues says Karleskind

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French fishermen have stated they will not back down in the dispute over access to UK waters. The Channel Islands have become a focus of tensions between the UK and France over fishing rights. Fishermen across the Channel have expressed concern about the new post-Brexit fishing agreements with some going as far as to threaten to prevent Jersey licenced boats landing their catches.  

Speaking to the Jersey Evening Post, French trawler captain Ian Pascal Thévenin said: “If one of us is arrested we will all go together.

“Burning tyres as a form of protest is not enough. We must be heard.”

Another fisherman, Antonin Marie said: “What shall we do? Block Jersey fishermen from landing their catches? If we wait it’s victory for them.

“Fishing in Jersey is 80% of my turnover. What are we going to do if it doesn’t restart?”

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The Prime Minister of France Jean Castes insisted his country would be “very firm” on the issue of fishing right around the Channel Islands.

He told Tendance Ouest radio: ‘We have obtained the right to continue fishing in the six-to-12-mile zone off the United Kingdom and off Jersey and Guernsey.

This must now materialise – the Minister of the Sea is fighting every day for the recognition and rights of our fishermen in this.

We will be very firm on this, particularly with the European Commission, so that the agreement is upheld.” 

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson‘s Brexit trade deal with the EU has divided opinion, with fishermen in the UK furious with the terms agreed.

UK fishing boats will get a larger share of fish, as 25 percent of EU boats’ fishing rights in UK waters will be transferred to the British fleet over a period of five years.

After that, there will be annual negotiations to decide how the catch is shared out between the UK and EU, and Britain would have the right to completely exclude EU boats after 2026.

But the EU could respond with taxes on exports of British fish to the EU or by denying UK boats access to EU waters.

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The Brexit trade deal replaced the Bay of Granville Treaty – an accord that angered some in the Channel Islands as it allowed French authorities to license their own boats to fish in Jersey waters.

Despite France’s continued access to UK waters, a government minister in Paris warned the country is “ready for battle” in their attempts to have the old treaty reintroduced.

Annick Girardin, France’s Minister of the Sea, said that the French government has contacted the EU to try and push forward its objective.

This week Brexit worries prompted the EU to send one of its fishing chiefs to a seaside town on France’s west coast seeking to reassure the local industry.

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