Unlicensed French fishing boats given 30 days to stop operating in Jersey waters

Boats sending off flares
The issue came to a head earlier this year when French fisherman blockaded St Helier harbour. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Unlicensed French fishing boats have been given 30 days to stop operating in Jersey waters.

The announcement comes after a number of protests staged by both French and Jersey fisherman about the post Brexit fishing agreement.

Jersey has issued 64 full licences and 31 temporary licences to French boats, on top of the 47 vessels already licensed earlier this year. 75 applications have been turned down.

The new licences will become mandatory at end of October.

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

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.

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

Jersey's government has now said the licence conditions specifically regarding 'days at sea' and 'gear used' will remain suspended to allow for further discussion between Jersey, the UK, the EU and France on the interpretation of 'extent and nature'.

The dispute over fishing rights led to protests by French fishermen earlier this year.