Blockades take place at French ports over fishing rights row

Credit: ITV Channel

French fishermen have blockaded St Malo and several other key ports today (Friday 26 November) in the latest escalation of the row with Jersey over fishing rights.

The move posed a problem for some of the island's shellfish exporters.

One cargo vessel faced delays reaching port at St Malo but was later able to dock and unload. The crew was handed a French flag to take back to Jersey's government.

French fishing crews remain angry about the number of post-Brexit fishing licences issued for vessels to fish in UK and Jersey waters.

Jersey's External Relations Minister says the protests are 'unhelpful'

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday 25 November, France's leading fishing union said the European Union must 'defend their own citizens against the Brits' who they say are 'playing a game'.

The head of the Jersey's Fishermen's Association told ITV News that even the threat of a blockade can have a knock-on effect for different parts of the industry.

Earlier this week, France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune warned that Paris would consider taking action if the situation around fishing rights was not brought to a conclusion.

55 unlicensed French crews were told they can no longer operate in Jersey's waters, after the deadline for completing paperwork for the island's new post-Brexit licensing system expired on Sunday 31 October. However, Jersey's government has since issued three more.

French fishermen must prove they have a history of fishing in Jersey's waters in order to be granted a licence.

The French President Emmanuel Macron had previously said that whilst talks remained ongoing, France would not take 'retaliatory measures' against the Channel Islands - such as blockading French ports and disrupting access to the Islands' electricity supply from the French mainland.