Jersey has not yet struck a long-term post-Brexit fishing agreement allowing French vessels to fish in English Channel waters.
Instead, temporary arrangements for fishing in Jersey’s waters were finalised by island authorities with an amnesty period extended until June 30th after the end of the transition period following demands from the EU.
An agreement was reached in January to allow EU boats to continue to fish in Jersey waters until May 1st as a new post-Brexit license system was developed by the Jersey Government.
However, Brussels complained this was not enough time for French fishermen primarily from Normandy and Brenton to apply for new licences granting permission to fish within the isle’s 12-mile limit.
In a statement last night, Jersey’s External Relations Minister Ian Gorst said a final agreement had been put in place, adding: “We have agreed to this extension as a way of demonstrating our support for fishers of all nationalities in the Bay of Granville.
“We do not want the UK’s exit from the EU to affect our relationship with France, Normandy or Brittany and therefore I am happy to again extend the hand of friendship across the water.
“I hope this extension will support a smooth transition process and I would ask our EU and French colleagues to support Jersey vessels and exporters as they adjust to the new rules for exporting and direct landing.”
The Jersey Government stressed that no “further extension will be considered”.
As part of an amnesty period, French boats were still allowed to fish in the islands’ waters without a licence, which also applied under the previous Bay of Granville treaty.
But the “amnesty period” move has angered Channel Island fishermen who demanded a ban on French vessels catching scallops and whelks in the region.
The protests, led by the Jersey Fishing Association also claim that French vessels are overfishing, causing environmental damage and reducing stocks around the Crown Dependency.
They also spoke of difficulties being able to land their catches in France due to post-Brexit paperwork issues.
Environment Minister John Young, who held talks in recent weeks with Island fishermen and French ministers, added: “I have every hope that this demonstration of goodwill will be reciprocated by our French neighbours and that we will see improvements for Jersey fishers and traders when landing their goods into French ports.”
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