Dial it down! French fishermen rage as 'dangerous' UK swipes threaten to sink Brexit talks


    Negotiations are currently taking place between the British Crown Dependency and Paris to resolve a dispute, which saw Jersey ministers attempt to introduce a new licensing system for fishing vessels on April 30. The move has now been delayed until July 1 following anger from French fishermen and the Government.

    But the Normandy Regional Fisheries Committee said comments made by regional French politicians Philippe Gosselin and Béatrice Gosselin over the row could put talks in danger of collapsing.

    Philippe Gosselin, French National Assembly member for La Manche, said: “The political decision in Jersey to redefine the conditions for awarding licences for French boats is not acceptable.

    “If it is not reviewed, an entire section of the local economy will be affected, with disastrous consequences on employment.”

    Meanwhile, French Senator for La Manche Béatrice Gosselin urged fishermen struggling to get a licence from Jersey to contact the Island authorities directly.

    Ms Gosselin claimed historical fishing data submitted by fishermen was taking too long to be transferred from EU authorities to Jersey.

    A Committee spokesperson said today: “Encouraging fishermen – by playing on their legitimate fear for the future – to provide their data directly will allow Jersey, London’s vanguard, to gradually force Norman fishing to disappear from its waters with random and individual measures.

    “The relationship between Jersey and France, in particular on the question of fishing, is a complex subject.

    “The statements by Senator de la Manche Béatrice Gosselin and deputy for La Manche Philippe Gosselin may prove dangerous for the future negotiations.”

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    The row erupted after the Jersey Government said French boats would be required to obtain licences to carry on fishing in the island’s waters under the terms of the trade deal with the EU.

    The move provoked a wave of anger among French fishing communities, which complained that boats that had operated there for years were suddenly having their access restricted, because they could not prove their historical links with the waters.

    It comes as it emerged Jersey’s External Relations Minister Ian Gorst and Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham met Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Number 10 for crunch talks over the row late last week.

    Senator Farnham said the meeting with the PM confirmed the “strong and enduring relationship between Jersey and the UK government.”

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    The Minister said they would “continue working together to achieve the best outcomes for Jersey.”

    Senator Gorst added: “This visit provided the opportunity to further strengthen Jersey’s relationship with the Prime Minister, and to thank him for his personal support, and that of the UK Government, during recent challenges in respect of fisheries and the implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

    “We look forward to working with the Prime Minister and his team over the coming weeks and months, particularly as we continue to consider the detail of the TCA.”


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