Unlicenced French fishing crews no longer allowed in Jersey waters

Credit: ITV Channel TV

Fifty five unlicenced French fishing crews have been told they can no longer operate in Jersey's waters.

The deadline for completing the paperwork for the island's new post-Brexit licencing system was Sunday (31 October).

The new rules require French fishermen to prove they have a history of fishing in Jersey's waters in order to receive licences to carry on operating.

So far, Jersey's government has granted 49 temporary licences, which are valid until 31 January 2022, to French fishing vessels.

These 49 temporary licences are as well as the 113 permanent licences that have already been issued.

Tensions came to a head earlier in the year when the French blockaded Jersey harbour, prompting the UK to deploy the Royal Navy. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Jersey's government says "the door remains open" for rejected vessels to reapply once they have the information required under the new Trade and Cooperation Agreement - which came into effect after the UK left the EU.

However, France says this is unfair as some boats do not have the computer equipment to supply the evidence needed.

Fishing has been a major point of contention since the UK voted to leave the EU and France is threatening "retaliatory measures" unless more licences are issued.

If the row is not resolved by November 2, French sanctions could include:

  • Routine security checks on British boats

  • Banning British fishing vessels in some French ports

  • Reinforcement of customs and hygiene controls

  • Reinforcement of controls on lorries to and from the UK

  • Cutting electricity supply to the Channel Islands

A UK government spokesperson said the threats from Paris were "disappointing and disproportionate, and not what we would expect from a close ally and partner".

Meanwhile, the Jersey Fishermen's Association is urging the island's politicians to stand firm.