Jersey reaches deal with French fishermen after vessels blockade the British Channel island’s port over Brexit dispute
Jersey has announced that it has reached an agreement with French fishermen to extend post-Brexit transition rules for three months to allow negotiations over licences to continue a month after vessels blockaded the island’s port.
In a statement released on Monday, Jersey’s Minister for External Relations Ian Gorst said that the island is “offering this extension to the amnesty period to allow the continuation of discussions,” allowing the 177 French vessels to continue fishing until a permanent deal is reached.
The dispute between France and Germany about access to the Channel island’s waters centres around a post-Brexit rule that requires vessels to carry electrical equipment showing the “extent and nature” of their previous fishing activity. However, small French vessels do not have that equipment, meaning they risk being denied access when the transition period comes to an end.
Jersey officials did not provide any further information on the progress of negotiations between the island and France. With the three-month extension, fishing vessels will not be subject to conditions over the type of gear they use or the number of days they can operate in the waters until the end of September.
The Channel island, a self-governing British crown dependency located between France and the UK, was the subject of a flare-up in tensions over the ongoing fishing dispute in May, with French vessels blockading its main port and the UK deploying naval ships in response.
Prior to the blockade, Paris had threatened to cut off energy to the island, which it receives via three sub-cables from France. In response, the UK government defended Jersey’s right to decide who can access “its own territorial waters.”