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France secures Guernsey fishing licences in post-Brexit row

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By Reuters
Guernsey says issues fishing licenses to 40 EU vessels
Guernsey says issues fishing licenses to 40 EU vessels   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

PARIS -The Channel island of Guernsey has approved all licences France says its fishermen are entitled to under the terms of Britain’s post-Brexit trade agreement, but dozens more are still being withheld by Britain and Jersey, a French minister said.

Fishing rights plagued Brexit talks for years and continue to poison relations between Britain and France, not because of their economic importance but because of their political resonance for both sides.

Paris says London is failing to respect the agreed licensing system that grants vessels access to each other’s waters, a charge that Britain denies.

“As the deadline fixed by the European Commission approaches, the issuance of 43 licences is excellent news for our fishermen,” Annick Girardin, France’s seas minister, said on Twitter.

Guernsey confirmed that the licences had been approved.

Guernsey and Jersey, both British Crown Dependencies, lie far closer to the northern shores of France than to Britain.

Girardin said France was still awaiting 59 licences from Jersey and 52 licences to fish in the territorial waters 6-12 miles off Britain’s shores.

President Emmanuel Macron, who faces an election next year, has said his government will not rest until his fishermen have all the licences Paris says are owed.

French fishermen temporarily blockaded the port of Calais and Channel Tunnel rail last Friday in an effort to disrupt trade between Britain and the continent.