Jersey fishermen say new licences for French a 'death warrant' for the industry

Jersey has issued 111 licences, which will come into force at the end of October. Credit: ITV Channel TV

The head of the Jersey Fishermen's Association has described the government's decision to grant more than 100 new fishing licences to French crews as a "death warrant" for the island's own fishing industry.

Don Thompson fears some fisherman in Jersey face "certain bankruptcy" and that new post-Brexit licensing arrangements with the EU will more than double in size the number of French fishing vessels coming into Jersey's waters.

Jersey has issued 111 licences, which will come into force at the end of October.

The new licencing system has been introduced as a result of the new post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement signed between the UK and EU.

However, Jersey fishermen believe politicians on the island have been too generous and given into threats from the French, who previously blockaded St Helier harbour.

Interim arrangements allowed French boats, which previously held a Granville Bay Licence, to continue catching fish in Jersey waters while the new TCA system was being established.

Jersey's External Relations Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, refuted the claims, stating that he had "absolutely not" been "bullied" by the French.

The TCA requires evidence of the "extent and nature" of previous fishing activity in Jersey waters to be demonstrated in order for a licence to be granted.

The French have previously argued this is unfair as some boats do not have the computer equipment to help them prove they usually fish in Jersey waters, whilst others have recently purchased new boats so they are struggling to provide the evidence needed.