France threatens to cut off Jersey's electricity supply over fishing row

France's Maritime Minister has backed fishermen's calls to cut off Jersey's electricity supply. Credit: ITV Channel TV

France's Maritime Minister has backed fishermen's calls to cut off Jersey's electricity supply in retaliation to a fall out over fishing rights in Bailiwick waters.

Annick Girardin reportedly told the parliament in Paris yesterday that her administration was "ready to use... retaliation measures" against the Channel Islands.

Jersey imports more than 90% of its power from France. And that will have a knock on effect for Guernsey too which gets its electricity through Jersey.

Jersey imports more than 90% of its power from France. Credit: ITV Channel TV

In light of the developing situation, Jersey Electricity says La Collette Power Station and Queens’ Road can supply the island with power.

Guernsey Electricity also says it will be able to provide power in the event that it is cut from France.

Guernsey Electricity has a security of supply strategy where the role of the power station is to provide continuity of electricity supply in the event of any issue with the importation cable. We can reassure all consumers of the resilience of the local generation capability and there is sufficient capacity to meet all the island’s electricity demand.

Alan Bates, Guernsey Electricity CEO



It is after post-Brexit rules came into force on Friday (30 April), which limit the number of days French boats can catch in local waters.

French officials say there are more restrictions placed on the licences than was ever agreed with Jersey's External Relation's Minister.

At no time, during the many exchanges we had with Ian Gorst, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jersey, was there any question of additional criteria subject to the issuance of licenses. We ask the French government to intervene with the European Commission so that the terms provided for in the trade and cooperation agreement are respected and applied.

Marc Lefèvre President of the Departmental Council of La Manche

Meanwhile Senator Gorst says "it takes time to adjust".

We are entering a new era and it takes time for all to adjust. Jersey has consistently shown its commitment to finding a smooth transition to the new regime, most evidently by creating an interim arrangement to allow French fishermen time to submit their data.

Senator Ian Gorst, Jersey's External Relations Minister

But in response to that, Marc Lefèvre President of the Departmental Council of La Manche says the relationship between Jersey and France is "seriously damaged".

The above tweet translates into English as:

"This exchange mainly resulted in the observation on my part that the relationship of trust is very seriously damaged. It is unacceptable that Jersey unilaterally sets the conditions for approvals in any contradiction with the terms of the treaty."

Some fishermen in the island are urging for a deal to be sorted soon so jobs can be secured.