As tension builds over France’s calls for new trawling licenses in British waters, Jersey (a British-owned island), fishermen have charged the French with piracy. They’re warning if the French dare to shut their port again, they will react.
Things Are Getting Serious
The comments came after Paris threatened to cut power to Jersey, a British Dependency fourteen miles off the shore of France, as well as the rest of the UK.
In May 2021, the topic of French fishermen in post-Brexit waters surfaced for the first time. Jersey is in charge of its fishing quotas, powers criticized by French officials and fishermen as being incompatible with post-Brexit fishing accords.
The UK government dispatched Navy ships to the island that month to keep an eye on things; that happened after French fishing vessels arrived on the island to blockade its port and city, St Helier.
Jersey fishermen talking to GB News on Tuesday charged French sailors as being “pirates.” They said this time, they will not sit quietly and will battle the French, even if it means going to jail.
'They're going to rob us blind and we're going to be out of business'
GB News Security and Home Editor Mark White spoke to Jersey's fisherman, as they accuse French fisherman of piracy while French ministers threaten to cut off the power supply. pic.twitter.com/3nffoRcEc0
— GB News (@GBNEWS) October 12, 2021
According to Paul Bizec, head of the Jersey Fishermen’s Union, there’s not really a fishing business on the territory in five years since “the Frenchmen are just so hungry; they want all our waterways.”
The recent disagreement began when the administration of St Helier decided to reject 70 license applications from French skippers; the skippers could not establish they fished in Jersey’s seas before. Boats from France just need to show they operated in Jersey’s waters for at least 11 days in the previous three years.
The French are Not Satisfied
Despite this, the Channel Isles issued 95 licenses to French fishing vessels last month (64 full and 31 temporaries). This is significantly more than has ever farmed these seas, as per residents talking to GB News.
Two UK Royal Navy Ships Deployed as 60 French Fishing Ships Move to Blockade Jersey Port https://t.co/Hd1w1HFrSa
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 6, 2021
European fishing boats that had been benefiting from UK waters were provided a generous five-and-a-half-year transition period. This came in the post-Brexit transfer deal signed by London, as well as Brussels last Christmas. It also comes on top of the nearly five years they had to start preparing for changes after the 2016 UK vote to leave Europe.
While the administration has attempted to convey the idea EU rights to British seas will terminate after this time, there is no certainty this will be the case. The EU is indicating they regard the deal as implying a renewal of the present system beyond this time.
“I do not think Jersey Anglers will accept much more of this,” local skipper Jack Bailey said. He added while fishermen previously followed instructions to stay in the dock and not fight French fishermen, “I don’t think Jersey Anglers will take any more of this.”