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£150k specialist kit for Lions a casualty in fishing crisis

£150k specialist kit for Lions a casualty in fishing crisis

Wednesday 12 May 2021

£150k specialist kit for Lions a casualty in fishing crisis


Manoeuvres by French authorities have blocked a £150,000 cryotherapy chamber – due to be installed in a new state-of-the-art sports complex hosting the British and Irish Lions next month - from being shipped to Jersey as tensions continue to flare over fishing.

The Conseil Départemental de la Manche, which has authority over the ports, gave the order to block freight, including the specialist kit destined for Strive last week.

It came as frustrations over the island’s new regime for controlling fishing in its waters after Brexit boiled over, leading furious French fishers to protest at St. Helier harbour last week and a temporary retaliatory ban on Jersey fishers from landing their catch in Granville and a block on cargo travelling to Jersey.

While the catch landing and cargo ban was lifted on Monday following a complaint from Jersey to the European Commission, there still appear to be difficulties for freight, with the Thora and Normandy Trader's shipping activities impacted.

As a result, the cryotherapy chamber was still lying in situ this morning alongside a specialist plunge pool.

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Pictured: The protest in Jersey's waters last Thursday.

“Unfortunately our timings couldn’t be any worse. We’ve been left a little stranded [as a result of the fishing dispute], Strive’s Nathan Wilczynski told Express.

He said the team at St. Peter-based Strive, which is due to open within weeks, are pinning hopes on Jersey’s Government to find a resolution to the freight problem. 

In the absence of this, he said the team were working on a plan b – moving the unit to northern France, shipping it to a UK port and then down to Jersey, where it will be rebranded in Strive’s signature style before opening to the public. 

If neither route is successful, he said Strive will not be able to find a replacement unit before opening.  

“It’s a £150,000 bit of equipment – it’s not something you can just buy off the shelf,” Nathan explained. “It will be unique to Strive – there’s nothing else like it in the island.”

Despite these difficulties, he said the team were remaining optimistic that they would be able to find a solution in order to ensure the public can soon access the chamber and the “great health benefits” it offers.

A favourite of many elite athletes, cryotherapy involves exposing the body to extremely low temperatures to help enhance performance by healing and building resistance to injuries. It also also thought to improve mental wellbeing. 

Among those expected to access Strive’s new cryo chamber are the British and Irish Lions, who are visiting the island for a pre-season training camp next month.

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Pictured: Ben Harvey, former Jersey RFC Director of Rugby, is the brains behind Strive, which has been selected by the British and Irish Lions as a pre-season training ground.

Warren Gatland said that, alongside the island’s low covid rates, the elite facilities were one of the reasons the team was drawn to Jersey.

The lifting of the Normandy landing ban for Jersey fishers came as the island's Government agreed to give French fishermen more time to provide evidence of their fishing activities over the past three years to ensure they get the right type of permit. The extension will last until 1 July.

French Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin - who previously threatened to cut the island's electricity supply, and reportedly supports restricting Jersey finance firms' access to Europe - updated the country's politicians on the decision yesterday. She said she would be responding in writing later that day.

While the Jersey catch and cargo ban was lifted in Normandy on Monday, it emerged yesterday that local fishers are still facing difficulties landing in Saint Malo, Brittany.

On Tuesday, the Normandy Trader's captain, Chris Le Masurier, told Express he was advised not to bring lobsters and crab caught by local fishermen to Saint Malo due to "security concerns".

A Government spokesperson explained today: “Government fisheries officers received information that it would not be an issue for the Normandy Trader, carrying oysters and mussels, to land in Saint Malo, but that it could be an issue for other fisheries products. This information was provided to both Aqua Mar and the operators of the Normandy Trader so they could make an informed decision about vessel and crew safety.

"There was a duty of care to forward this information, and Government offered no advice as to whether or not they should land."

They added: "Jersey has now provided more time for French licence holders to provide evidence of their time in Jersey waters.

"Staff in the Caen office will continue working with the Normandy Trader and other fishers to facilitate the smooth landing of their catches.”

Express has contacted Jersey’s Government, the Département de la Manche, Préfecture Maritime de la Manche et de la Mer du Nord, and the French region’s political representative on the matter of the trapped cryotherapy chamber and is awaiting a reply. 

Follow Express for updates...

Pictured top: The cryotherapy chamber sitting in the Port of Granville. (Marie Carof-Gadel/Ouest-France)

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