Sun. Dec 5th, 2021

Brussels calls for calm but criticizes the new conditions that London demands for fishing on the island of Jersey


The authorities of the United Kingdom and France have deployed military patrols in the English Channel in the face of escalating tensions over fishing rights, which have led to a protest by fishing boats that fear losing quota in the post-Brexit scenario.

Negotiations on the exploitation of resources have been a recurrent cause of friction between the two sides of the channel and this Thursday dozens of French fishing boats have organized a protest against the island of Jersey, in such a way that other vessels could not abandon it, according to French public television .

Boris Johnson’s government has responded by sending two Navy ships to “assess the situation,” according to a Downing Street spokesman quoted by the BBC. The Jersey authorities have also promised to meet with the fishermen, who have added some 60 boats to their particular blockade of the port of Saint Helier.

For their part, the French authorities have deployed two other patrol boats, according to a spokeswoman for the area’s maritime prefecture, to guarantee “the safety of navigation and the safeguarding of human life,” Franceinfo reports. In this sense, he has appealed to the need to prevent a possible escalation.

The fishermen denounce a cut in the areas and periods to fish and have received the explicit support of the Executive of Emmanuel Macron, who even threatened through the mouth of his Minister of the Sea, Annick Girardin, to cut the power to the island if the restrictions persisted to the labors of Gallic workers.

Paris has also requested the intervention of the European Commission, an institution that has ensured that it closely follows the events between Paris and London, but has also requested “samples of moderation” and “calm” to find a way out of the conflict.

In any case, the spokesperson for Fisheries of the Community Executive, Vivian Loonela, has specified that the United Kingdom requires “additional” conditions to the 41 European vessels that have requested to be able to fish in Jersey territorial waters that do not respect the agreement that governs relations trade between both parties since Brexit.

“Any new conditions for authorizations that limit fishing activities must comply with the objectives and principles of the Agreement, but must also have a clear and rational scientific explanation,” emphasized the spokeswoman.

In addition, Brussels has recalled that the conditions for accessing a license to fish in the territorial waters of the other party “cannot discriminate” against vessels according to their flag and have to be notified “in advance” so that vessels and national authorities have “time to react.”

The Community Executive considers that the new conditions, communicated to Brussels last Monday, do not meet these criteria and therefore “should not be applied.”

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