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Brexit: French minister criticises Jersey, eyes compensation for fishing sector

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By Reuters
Brexit: French minister criticises Jersey, eyes compensation for fishing sector
Brexit: French minister criticises Jersey, eyes compensation for fishing sector   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

PARIS – France’s Maritime Minister criticised Jersey for not fully co-operating on post-Brexit fishing licences, and said France was eyeing compensation for fishermen hit by the situation, which has caused diplomatic rows between France and Britain.

France and Britain have been at loggerheads over the number of licences London allocated to French fishing boats after the UK left the European Union. France says many are missing, while London says it is respecting the deal.

French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin told a meeting of the French fishing industry at Finistere, Brittany, on Thursday that she regretted Jersey’s “limited willingness” to co-operate with France and that compensation packages were being prepared.

“I can tell you that we will have a package worth at least 40 million euros ($45.40 million) to help with their finances,” she said.

The dispute between France and Britain centres on the issuance of licences to fish in territorial waters six to 12 nautical miles off Britain’s shores, as well as in the seas off the coast of Jersey, a Crown Dependency in the English Channel.

Tensions caused both France and Britain to dispatch maritime vessels off the shores of Jersey earlier this year, while in October French authorities briefly seized a British fishing boat that had been in French waters.

“I have asked my services, especially the national centre for the surveillance of fishing, to step up sharply controls on British boats,” added Girardin on Thursday.

($1 = 0.8811 euros)