Fishing war: Jersey set to hand France extension – chief fears another boat blockade

An amnesty period allowing French vessels unfettered access to Jersey waters is due to expire on September 30th. Crunch negotiations have been taking place over the last few weeks to resolve the issues but Jersey ministers alongside UK officials have yet to reach an agreement with France.

The British Crown Dependency’s Environment Minister hinted that not extending the deadline could see a new round of protests from French trawlermen as many face a ban from Jersey waters if they do not have the correct paperwork.

John Young said a ”‘small” extension to the amnesty period may be necessary.

Mr Young added: “It might not be resolved by 30 September – I think there will need to be a short amount of extra time.

“Under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, there is a 30-day notification requirement which we need to comply with, so we cannot just do this immediately [impose licence restrictions].

“I am hopeful we will not have to issue a blanket amnesty again like we have done, and that is good news for Jersey.

“We want to put this behind us.”

Fishing companies and groups in Jersey have also been warned by authorities to be cautious about landing their catch in France.

A dispute over the licences initially flared in May when France and Britain sent patrol vessels off the shores of Jersey after a flotilla of French fishing boats sailed to the island in protest.

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Under the terms of the Brexit trade deal, French vessels have to show evidence of their history fishing in Jersey waters else they face not being issued with paperwork.

The Jersey Government have defended the deal and say large numbers of fishermen did not provide enough proof and were given restricted access under provisional licences.

But Bertrand Sorre, MP constituency of La Manche, said the provisional authorizations given to French fishermen are set to expire on September 30 and “that means in a few days these fishermen have no idea if they will be able to continue to do their jobs”.

Paris has remained silent on the issue in recent days.

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