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Britain sends warships to French fishermen

The British government is sending two marine patrol ships to the shores of Jersey to monitor the situation after a heated debate with France over fisheries regulations in the waters of the region. The island, which has vast self-governing powers off the coast of Normandy, is not part of the United Kingdom but is one of the outermost territories of the British Crown.

The municipality of Jersey recently introduced a new fishing licensing system, citing the Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). On this basis, French fishing vessels could obtain a fishing license in the area if they could demonstrate that they were active in the waters around Jersey in the past.

However, according to the French authorities, the Jersey government had not previously consulted the European Union and thus the ruling was invalid under the Technical Assistance Act.

Annick GirardanThe French government’s Minister of Maritime Affairs, in response to the heated debate, made a barely tacit indication this week that France could cut off the electricity supply to Jersey. Jersey receives 95 percent of its electricity from France on three submarine cables.

About a hundred French fishing boats were reported to have protested in the Jersey port on Thursday, although the organizers did not consider a blockade of the port. However, the British government announced on Wednesday night that two Royal Navy patrol ships would also be at the site, with the aim of monitoring a display of French fishing vessels.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that London had piloted two ships called Severn (pictured) and Tamar stationed in the port of Portsmouth in southern England to the island of Jersey. The patrol class is 90.5 meters long, with artillery and short-range air defense equipment among their weapons on board.

Threat to cut Jersey power supply ‘unacceptable’ – UK

Britain has described French threats to cut off electricity to the Channel Island of Jersey “unacceptable” in an escalating row over post-Brexit fishing rights.

“To threaten Jersey like this is clearly unacceptable and disproportionate,” a UK government spokesman said, promising to work with the European Union to thrash out a solution.

France warned on Tuesday it was weighing its response after the UK imposed rules governing access for French fishing boats near the Channel Islands, and said it could involve the electricity supply via underwater cables.

French maritime minister Annick Girardin accused Jersey, the largest Channel Island, of dragging its feet over the issuing of licences to French vessels under the terms of Britain’s post-Brexit trade deal with Brussels.

Jersey, a self-governing British Crown dependency off the coast of France, has said it will require boats to submit further details before the licences can be granted, and pleaded for patience.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Jersey Chief Minister John Le Fondré on Wednesday, when the pair “stressed the urgent need for a de-escalation in tensions,” according to a statement from Downing Street.

“The Prime Minister underlined his unwavering support for Jersey,” it added.

He also said that any potential blockade of Jersey’s ports by French fishermen “would be completely unjustified,” adding that he was sending two patrol vessels “as a precautionary measure”.

‘Optimistic’ of a resolution

The deepening row over fishing is one of several disputes that have emerged between the UK and the European Union since London left the bloc’s single market and customs union at the start of the year.

Jersey External Affairs Minister Ian Gorst told BBC Radio on Wednesday: “It would seem disproportionate to cut off electricity for the sake of needing to provide extra details so that we can refine the licences.

“I do think a solution can be found. I am optimistic that we can provide extra time to allow this evidence to be provided.”

Paris and London have increasingly clashed over fishing in recent weeks, as French fishermen say they are being prevented from operating in British waters because of difficulties in obtaining licences.

On Thursday morning, around 100 French fishing vessels will sail to Jersey port to protest over the issuing of the licences, the head of fisheries for the Normandy region, Dimitri Rogoff, told AFP.

Mr Rogoff said however that they would not try to blockade the port and would return to France in the afternoon.

In the latest move, Britain on Friday authorised 41 ships equipped with Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) technology – which allows ships to be located – to fish in waters off Jersey.

But this list was accompanied by new demands which France’s fisheries ministry has said were not arranged or discussed with Paris, effectively creating new zoning rules for the waters near Jersey.

UK government minister Nadhim Zahawi said the two sides need to work “constructively” on “operational challenges that we need to fix together”.

“This is an issue for the (European) Commission to work with our team,” he told Sky News.

UK govt condemns French threats over post-Brexit fishing – France 24

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London (AFP)

Britain on Wednesday called French threats to cut off electricity to the Channel Island of Jersey “unacceptable” in an escalating row over post-Brexit fishing rights.

“To threaten Jersey like this is clearly unacceptable and disproportionate,” a UK government spokesman said, promising to work with the European Union to thrash out a solution.

France warned Tuesday it was weighing its response after the UK imposed rules governing access for French fishing boats near the Channel Islands, and said it could involve electricity supplied via underwater cables.

French maritime minister Annick Girardin accused Jersey, the largest Channel Island, of dragging its feet over the issuing of licences to French vessels under the terms of Britain’s post-Brexit trade deal with Brussels.

Jersey, a self-governing British Crown dependency off the coast of France, has said it will require boats to submit further details before the licences can be granted, and pleaded for patience.

The deepening row over fishing is one of several disputes that have emerged between the UK and the European Union since London left the bloc’s single market and customs union at the start of the year.

Jersey External Affairs Minister Ian Gorst told BBC Radio on Wednesday: “It would seem disproportionate to cut off electricity for the sake of needing to provide extra details so that we can refine the licences.

“I do think a solution can be found. I am optimistic that we can provide extra time to allow this evidence to be provided.”

Paris and London have increasingly clashed over fishing in recent weeks, as French fishermen say they are being prevented from operating in British waters because of difficulties in obtaining licences.

On Thursday morning, around 100 French fishing vessels will sail to Jersey port to protest over the issuing of the licences, the head of fisheries for the Normandy region, Dimitri Rogoff, told AFP.

Rogoff said however that they would not try to blockade the port and would return to France in the afternoon.

In the latest move, Britain on Friday authorised 41 ships equipped with Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) technology — which allows ships to be located — to fish in waters off Jersey.

But this list was accompanied by new demands which France’s fisheries ministry has said were not arranged or discussed with Paris, effectively create new zoning rules for the waters near Jersey.

Nadhim Zahawi, a UK government minister, said the two sides needed to work “constructively” on “operational challenges that we need to fix together”.

“This is an issue for the (European) Commission to work with our team,” he told Sky News.