Jersey authorities say they have received enough information from French mariners to grant nine more fishing licences.
All nine were previously in the ‘temporary’ licence category, where their access to the island’s territorial waters would have ended on 31 January 2022 as the post-Brexit regime officially comes into force.
38 vessels – including one recent addition - remain in this category, and are being asked for further data about their fishing history in order to secure a permanent licence.
125 French vessels have been granted permanent licences.
French fishers previously enjoyed unrestricted access to the island’s waters under the Bay of Granville agreement, which was torn up by Brexit.
After the UK voted to leave the European Union, Jersey drew up its own licence-based regime, which sees French boats are granted the right to continue fishing around the island if they can prove they have fished for a minimum of 11 days in one of the past three years.
The process of providing this evidence – which involves a chain of communication via Paris, Brussels and London, rather than directly between Jersey and France – has led to frustrations across the water. A Jersey freight vessel was recently temporarily blocked from landing in Saint Malo as part of a “symbolic” demonstration of anger - one of several taking place across French ports.
Des pêcheurs de Saint-Malo bloquent l'accès au port d'un cargo de fret en provenance de #Jersey, dans le cadre du contentieux entre la #France et la #GrandeBretagne sur l'accès aux eaux britanniques à— Ouest-France 35 (@ouestfrance35) November 26, 2021
la suite du #Brexit. pic.twitter.com/CP6ODgkIra
Video: Jersey's 'Normandy Trader' was recently blocked by French fishermen.
“We have always been clear that this process is based purely on data and evidence. The ‘temporary’ category has provided more time for vessels to supply the necessary evidence to obtain a permanent licence – a process that has proven worthwhile with these nine additional vessels,” explained Environment Minister Deputy John Young.
“All other vessels in the ‘temporary’ category have until the 31 January 2022 to do so – otherwise their licence to fish in Jersey waters will end on this date. However, we will continue to consider evidence or new applications after the 31 January – our door is not closing entirely on this date.”
External Relations Minister Senator Ian Gorst, added: “There have been a series of productive discussions held with colleagues in the UK, France and the European Union over the last three weeks, and particularly in the last few days.
“We greatly appreciate the receipt of additional data, which allows the Minister for Environment to grant permanent licences to those vessels who qualify. We continue to welcome more data in respect of any French vessel which does not already have a permanent licence.”
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