Trade deal marks ‘promising new era’ for sustainable management of Jersey’s fisheries

Jersey's involvement in a new UK-EU trade agreement marks a 'promising new era' for the island's fishing fleet, according to a scrutiny panel.

The Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Panel has recommended Jersey remain part of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), as it provides an opportunity to 'preserve and enhance' its marine environment - as well as tackle ongoing issues about access to shared fishing waters.

The report says Jersey’s inclusion in the agreement would mean that management of its waters would no longer be shared with France, as was the case under the Granville Bay Treaty.

Instead, Jersey would be able to manage its waters as it sees fit and impose non discriminatory restrictions on a scientifically justified basis.

The news has been welcomed by Jersey Fishermen's Association, which published a six point manifesto this week setting out how it hopes the industry can be preserved for future generations.

It's about looking after the resource a lot better than we have over the last 20 years. We've got the potential to do that now, to rebuild fish stocks and of course our fleet will expand again, back to what it should be.

Don Thompson, Jersey Fishermen's Association
The TECA agreement means Jersey will be able to manage its waters as it sees fit. Credit: ITV Channel

In addition, the panel expressed concerns that Jersey’s Government was not well resourced in terms of marine resources and regulatory services provided by the States Vet in issuing export health certificates.

Jersey’s fishing industry receives no financial Government support with regard to licensing fees, safety equipment and vessel upgrades, unlike EU fishing fleets.

Whilst Jersey's Environment Minister Deputy John Young has confirmed that a support package is being looked at, the Panel says this is not being expedited quickly enough.

Deputy Young told ITV News the industry needs more help.

They've been through a turbulent time, they got hit with Brexit and they got hit with Covid. We managed to get some help with Covid but now we are going to come back again, and I've put forward for that scheme to be resurrected. Same time we need new money to help them reinvent the industry and so we're very supportive of that.

Deputy John Young, Jersey's Environment Minister