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Island confident of resolving issues with "small number" of French fishermen

Island confident of resolving issues with

Thursday 16 February 2023

Island confident of resolving issues with "small number" of French fishermen

Thursday 16 February 2023

There has been a small number of French fishermen unhappy over the conditions set by Jersey on how many days they can fish, but the island is confident they will be resolved.

This week, French media have reported about ‘many snags’ following 1 February, when Jersey imposed conditions on the 136 French fishers it had given licences to, entitling them to work in local waters.

One Granville fisherman, Franck Leverrier, told Ouest France that he considered himself “30% injured” on the number of days he was licensed to fish.

“I will adapt, I am not the worst off. Some find themselves with only five days of fishing, others, three,” he said.

The paper also reported about the “Kafkaesque” situation facing Raphaël Chayla, who was not given any days to fish because he had changed his boat, whose data about past activity – which forms the basis of the new conditions about ‘nature and extent’ – was not sent to authorities in Jersey.

M. Chayla blamed incompetence in the French system; however, Bertrand Sorre, who represents the Manche department in the French Assembly, said it was Jersey’s fault.

It is understood, however, that Jersey’s government refutes this, while recognising that the new system needs to bed down.  

Jersey territorial waters.png

Pictured: Jersey now has full control of its territorial waters after Brexit.

Express understands that French boats with static gear, so those with fixed pots and nets, are mostly content with the new conditions and there have been very few complaints. where there have been some, they have been dealt with quickly.

It is an evidence-based process and Jersey has only set conditions based on the evidence supplied, which has to go through the proper channels via Paris, Brussels and the UK, as set out in the post-Brexit trade agreement signed between the UK and European Union.

There have been more issues with fishers with mobile gear – those trawling or dredging – because Jersey only received their evidence on past fishing activity – to prove their right to fish around Jersey – just a few days before the 1 February implementation date.

It is understood that Jersey has said it will pool all the days at sea which have been tracked during the three-year reference period and let the French themselves divvy them up between its Jersey-licensed fleet.

France can then tell Jersey how the days have been allocated, and Jersey will update the conditions accordingly. 

Unfortunately, Jersey didn’t get the data in time but has assured France not to panic because its Marine Resources team will work through any teething troubles.

Jersey has been keen to send the message that it is being pragmatic and transparent, and to take a ‘no surprises’ stance.

It is also keen that the bedding down process happens quickly to avoid any potential resentment against Jersey and the policies of the EU-UK trade agreement which established the licensing regime.

Environment Minister Jonathan Renouf said: “The implementation of the extent and nature regulations at the start of this month has gone relatively smoothly so far, although there will, of course, always be those who are unhappy with the permits they are given.

"We’re working to resolve the small number of issues that have been flagged up, but overall, I’m pleased with how the move to this new era of fisheries management has gone.

"‘Extent and nature’ is an evidence-based system, and so if the evidence is there and comes through the correct channels, we can make amendments.

"I’m confident we can iron out any outstanding issues, within the rules of the trade agreement. We’ve taken a pragmatic ‘no surprises’ approach throughout and continue to maintain clear lines of communication.”


Jersey 'reasonably' sure French won't invade again as fish rules confirmed

EXPLAINED: A key week in the long-running fishing dispute

BLOW BY BLOW: How the fishing crisis unfolded (May 2021)

Royal Navy boats inbound to “de-escalate” fishing crisis (May 2021)

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