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WATCH: Emergency fishing crisis talks take place at the harbour

WATCH: Emergency fishing crisis talks take place at the harbour

Thursday 06 May 2021

WATCH: Emergency fishing crisis talks take place at the harbour


Emergency fishing crisis talks this morning took place between Jersey Ministers and French officials at the harbour.

French representatives and media boarded the Normandy Trader and headed to the harbour, where they met Jersey officials on board the Norman Le Brocq vessel for emergency talks to resolve the escalating row over post-Brexit fishing rights.

Video: Assistant Minister Gregory Guida talking from the Norman Le Brocq with French fishermen.

Officials from Granville, Saint Malo and Carteret boarded the Jersey vessel, the Normandy Trader, which frequently travels between Granville and Jersey, around 10:15.

Captain Chris Le Masurier offered up the vessel due to its large deck, allowing for a physically distanced meeting to take place at Victoria Pier to allow French fishermen to voice their concerns directly.

However, Jersey officials have instead pulled up alongside the vessel on the Norman Le Brocq, Jersey's key fishing patrol vessel. They say this is in keeping with covid restrictions.

Assistant Minister Gregory Guida, who is French, attended alongside other Government officials.

The talks have now finished, with the Normandy Trader dropping French officials back at their boats.

“We are meeting with French fishing leaders this morning to listen to their concerns regarding fishing rights. There are continuing extensive political and operational efforts with both our local fishing community and French fishing associations, their regional representatives in France, and both the UK and French governments, in order to resolve the current dispute and resume previous good relations,” External Relations Minister Ian Gorst said ahead of the meeting.

It comes after around 70 French vessels swarmed St. Helier harbour this morning, with some moving in to blockade the harbour around 06:30.

The ships' entry into the harbour delayed the departure of the freight-carrying Commodore Goodwill.

Although French boats backed off and moved behind Elizabeth Castle around 07:00, the Goodwill missed its tidal window, so is now stuck until after 11:30, along with the Sarnia Liberty.

The French boats remain stationed behind Elizabeth Castle.

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Pictured: French boats surrounding the Commodore Goodwill.

The Emergencies Council and the Jersey Maritime Security Group (Ports of Jersey, States of Jersey Police, Jersey Customs and Immigration, Law Officers, Emergency Planning, Fisheries, Jersey London Office, Royal Navy and Communications) are continuing to assess and monitor the situation.

Athos, a vessel from the Gendarmerie Maritime de Manche et du Mer du Nord, is also patrolling French waters near the area.

The role of the Gendarmerie Maritime, which is under the responsibility of the region's Préfet, is to rescue human life at sea and they regularly patrol French waters. A spokesperson confirmed they have been asked to stay nearby in case someone falls at sea. 

GALLERY...

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