Jersey fishermen will once again be able to land their catch in the ports of Carteret, Dielette and Granville after the Council of La Manche lifted the ban imposed on Friday.
Jersey’s Government had argued that the ban broke the terms of the UK-EU Brexit trade deal.
The ban came a day after French fishermen staged a protest in Jersey against the island’s new regime for controlling its waters after Brexit.
To do this, the island began issuing licences to apply from 1 May – but the French said that not enough boats had been given one, and that those that had would struggle under the weight of new restrictions attached to the licences (zones of fishing, types of fishing, days at sea per year), apparently without any warning.
This, they claimed, broke the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). In a statement issued on the afternoon of the protest, the European Commission agreed with the allegation.
Jersey’s Government this evening said that, as a gesture of “good faith”, it has now offered to give recently licensed French vessels until 1 July 2021 to provide further evidence of their fishing record to ensure they get the right licence, allowing them to continue to fish in the same way they have done over the past three years.
Fluent French speakers already working in Government have also been redeployed to the Marine Resources team to help ease communication with French fishers, and a direct hotline has been set up.
The Government said that it had now also written to the UK Government to address concerns over its licensing regime. The UK Government has in turn written to the European Commission on the island’s behalf.
Despite Normandy having lifted its ban, Express has been told that fishers are still unable to land their catch in Saint Malo. Express has asked the Government for comment on this and is awaiting a response.
“Jersey would like to move beyond recent events and focus on finding a resolution. We stand by our approach to implementing the TCA and we will continue to manage our own waters in line with the Agreement. We have answered the questions that the Commission asked about our approach," External Relations Minister Senator Ian Gorst said.
“The people of Jersey are passionate about proactively managing our waters in line with sustainability principles. Therefore, new measures such as limits on dredging and temporarily closing certain areas to carry out scientific studies, are appropriate.
“Jersey understands the challenges faced by both Jersey and French fishermen and we have been flexible this year, as shown by the amnesty period we introduced. We are happy to continue this approach, having listened directly to French fishermen’s concerns on Thursday.”
He added: “We remain committed to continued close working with the European Commission in order to help fishermen adjust to the new trade agreement.”
The 1 July extension falls short of what Didier Leguelinel of Normandy's Regional Fishing Committee called for at a meeting with French MEP and EU Fisheries Committee member Stéphanie Yon-Courtin yesterday.
According to Ouest France, suggested that the extension should last until 31 December, as it would provide enough "time to renegotiate a deal calmly while allowing fishers to continue working."
Mme. Yon-Courtin was visiting the Granville region at the request of fishermen and regional representatives to hear their concerns.
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