Guernsey fishermen able to return to French waters

Guernsey fishing boats can now cast their nets in French waters again.

Normandy's Regional Fishing Committee (CRPMEM) confirmed it had removed the threat of a blockade, after fishermen from the Bailiwick were told that they would not be able to fish or sell their catch through French ports earlier this week.

It comes as the States announced a permit system to allow French boats to return to Bailiwick waters.

The Government says its new authorisation scheme mean France can meet its SMEFF (Sustainable Management of External Fishing Fleets) obligations - the European Union regulations which govern fishing vessels operating outside EU waters.

The new system will last for the duration of the transition period between the UK and the EU and does not offer any additional rights to France than it had before the UK left the EU on Friday 31 January.

Our response to this last minute issue raised by France has demonstrated our ability to react quickly to threats and manage this issue by working closely with the French national and regional fishing authorities. We have delivered on our word by implementing the SMEFF authorisation regime this week.

Deputy Charles Parkinson, President of Guernsey's Committee for Economic Development

The move has also been welcomed by politicians in France.

I welcome Guernsey's implementation of an SMEFF authorisation scheme which guarantees Norman boats access to this fishing area. Guernsey has already granted authorizations to Norman fishermen and I can only rejoice in this happy outcome, a reflection of our long-standing relationships. We will obviously continue to study the development of our future partnership after the UK's exit from the EU.

Hervé Morin, President of the Region of Normandy