UK-France Fishing Dispute: French Fishermen angry at uncertain future

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Hundreds of people gathered on Saturday on the French beach of Armanville to air their grievances as the expiry deadline for their fishing licenses approaches.

Protestors selected that beach specifically as it hosts the large 90,000 volt cable that runs across the sea bed and supplies the Island of Jersey with electricity.

The fishermen claim that English authorities are dragging their heels over the renewal of the licenses, demanding sufficient proof that they were fishing in Jersey’s waters between the years of 2017-2020.

Currently 48 French shipping vessels over 12m long will be able to fish in the channel waters under the new scheme. But ships of under 12m are still in the dark.

Bertrand Sorre, MP for the 2nd 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”.

EU fishermen’s access to British waters has been a source of bitter dispute during post-Brexit negotiations and despite the UK-EU Trade Cooperation Agreement, still remains an explosive topic Negotiations are still underway after a three-month delay in July.

In May, dozens of French boats blockaded the port of Saint-Helier in Jersey to show their discontent and to defend their fishing rights. This resulted in the UK sending 2 royal navy patrol ships to circle Jersey until things calmed down by the end of the day.

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