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France accused of "lowering flag" after announcing compensation plan

France accused of

Friday 19 November 2021

France accused of "lowering flag" after announcing compensation plan

Friday 19 November 2021

France is preparing a compensation package for fishermen who have failed to get a licence to work in Jersey and UK waters - something that has been heavily criticised by some in the industry.

In her first public admission that not the country might not get all the licences it wants, Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin announced at a fishing conference in Brittany that a “fleet exit plan” was being drawn up.

She said: “Without prejudging the outcome of negotiations, I asked the Fisheries Department to provide, in consultation with professionals, an estimate of fleet exit plans that I could finance," she told a fishing conference in Brittany.

She added that “an envelope of €40 to €60 million could be put on the table.”

The politician appeared to concede that many fishermen did not have the evidence of past fishing activity needed to meet the terms of the UK-EU trade deal which defines the new post-Brexit regime.

“It is visibility that you need. I will therefore be frank with you, we must prepare for these losses,” she told the conference.

However, Mme. Girardin also took the opportunity to lambast Jersey.

fishing boats protest.jpg

Pictured: The French first protested about the new licensing regime outside the Harbour in May.

“It is obvious that Jersey does not respect the Brexit agreement; worse, it shows an unwillingness to cooperate with us,” she said.

Jersey has granted 116 permanent licences to French fishers and 46 temporary licences to fishers who have until the end of January to produce enough evidence of past activity that meets the terms set out in the UK-EU trade agreement.

The island has refused 55 licence applications from boats which Jersey say will never meet the criteria.

Mme. Girardin’s reference to compensation has been interpreted as a French defeat by some fishers, according to media reports.

“The defeat was predictable [...] It’s a fiasco”, said Pascal Delacour, a fisherman from Granville, TV5 Monde reported. “France has lowered its pants and abandoned its young sailors because it is above all they who do not have licences”.

Olivier Leprêtre, president of the Hauts-de-France regional fisheries committee, told reporters: “The government has disarmed and is lowering the flag, whereas it had promised retaliatory measures.”

After the meeting, the minister reportedly spent an hour after the meeting trying to calm down angry fishermen.

She apparently conceded that her earlier speech “might have given some the impression that France was giving up”, but she assured fishers that she “will continue to fight alongside the fishermen so that no one is left behind”.  

While criticising Jersey’s approach, Mme. Girardin said that progress was being made with Guernsey, which is due to announce its licensing regime on 1 December.

The fishing dispute flared up again last month when France threatened retaliatory action at its ports, a move which took Jersey – which was about to announce the issuing of more French licences – by surprise.

However, the immediate threats were withdrawn by French President Emmanuel Macron while talks between the UK, EU and France were ongoing.

These are continuing, with UK Brexit Minister Lord Frost due to meet EU Commission Vice-President Maros Sefčovič again today, although their focus appears to be primarily on the terms of the Northern Ireland protocol. 


PM says French threats to Jersey "unjustified"

Three more French boats get licences

Jersey Gov steps in to fund fishers tangled in French row

"Fishermen on both sides will be penalised"

Commercial fishing data cost Gov £1.8k

BLOW-BY-BLOW: How the fishing crisis unfolded... (live updates) (May 2021)

WATCH: French and British patrol boats watch over as French boats blockade harbour (May 2021)

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Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

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Posted by Danny Moisan on
oh well, a few more fish in our waters for local fishermen to catch.... we should have shown a stronger hand from the beginning and we wouldn't be in the embarrassing position of having to concede to the French demands, how I miss Maggie lol
Posted by Martin on
Did you know that every word in English that ends in "ION" is the same in French Eg:-


Joking aside my comment is supposedly true!
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