Jersey fisherman says Brexit deal will not give island power over its waters

Mr Thompson says the new regulations do not restore sovereignty to Jersey over its waters. Credit: ITV Channel TV

The head of Jersey Fishermen's Association says the UK’s Brexit deal will not give the island power over its waters.

States members in Jersey approved the Sea fisheries regulations on Sunday (27 December).

The new regulations will supersede the current, Granville Bay Agreement (GBA) which has been accused of being biased in favour of French fishermen. Under the GBA, French vessels were granted access to Jersey waters, by French Authorities.

The new regulations will give Jersey the sole power to issue licences to boats wishing to fish in Jersey waters. However it has not gone down well with the head of the Fishermen's Association.

The deal that's been offered effectively talks about sovereignty of our waters, whereas in fact it's not sovereignty at all. It's sovereignty with both hands tied behind our backs. It binds Jersey to license all those vessels in all those areas they were fishing in the last three years when there has been so much damage done to the stock.

Don Thomson, President of Jersey Fishermen's Association

To acquire a licence under the new agreement, French vessels will have to prove historic activity in Jersey’s waters. They will have to provide evidence of ten days of activity or more in three twelve months periods – namely 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The Environment Minister says its an ‘open secret’ that fishermen had higher expectations of the agreement and had wanted sole control of Jersey’s waters.

The Bay of Granville agreement has become very unbalanced and very much in favour of our French neighbours and therefore we have a declining fishery. They had obviously wished to have exclusive control of our nought to six miles but that was clearly not acceptable to the EU because nobody should gain from the decision of Brexit.

Deputy John Young, Jersey's Environment Minister