Brexit: Jersey to grant provisional licenses to European fishing vessels

Access to the waters of Jersey and the neighboring island of Guernsey, also off the coast of France, has been a source of friction between London and Paris since Britain left the EU for good in January.

Since Brexit, access to water has been a source of strong tensions between the European Union and Great Britain. In this context, the autonomous government of Jersey, an island located between France and Great Britain, announced on Friday September 24 that it would grant provisional licenses to fishing vessels from EU countries next week, without specifying the number of licenses involved.

Provisional licenses will also be issued to those who need more time to gather the supporting documents to obtain them, the autonomous government said.

The British authorities are in fact asking European fishermen, most of whom work beyond French waters off Normandy and Brittany, to prove the anteriority of their activity in British waters in order to obtain the renewal of their license. Smaller boats, which do not have a satellite tracking system, have difficulty in collecting supporting documents. They have until January 31 now to provide the necessary supporting documents.

On Thursday, the French Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin had requested from the United Kingdom 169 final authorizations for access to British waters for French fishermen, a few days before the expiration of their provisional licenses on September 30.

The French Ministry of the Sea has warned that if definitive licenses are not granted to French fishermen, France will ask the European Union to activate retaliatory measures.

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At the beginning of May, dozens of Norman and Breton fishing boats had gathered in the port of Saint-Hélier in Jersey to express their discontent and defend their right to continue fishing in Jersey waters, causing London to send two patrollers who were followed by French patrollers.

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