France arrests British fishing boat, London summons French ambassador


France has vehemently protested the decision last month by the British and the Channel Island of Jersey to deny dozens of French fishing boats permits to operate in their territorial waters. Dozens of other licenses have been granted. France says the restrictions run counter to the post-Brexit deal Britain signed when it left the EU.

A ‘local fresh fish’ billboard stands in the harbor at Hastings, England. Credit:Getty

After weeks of negotiations, British authorities have issued more fishing licenses, but the number still represents only 50% of what France believes it “is entitled to”, French government spokesman Gabriel said on Wednesday. Attal.

“We worked with the British, we gave them all the data, documents and information requested to support these (licence) requests,” Attal said. “Our patience has reached its limit.

Britain disputes this. The government says it has granted 98 per cent of fishing license applications from European vessels, but there is a dispute over 31 vessels which the UK says have failed to provide evidence to support their applications.

It is in this context that the French authorities imposed a fine on the two British vessels, one for not having complied with police checks and the other for not holding a valid license. form. The French Ministry of the Sea said the fines resulted from tighter navigation and permit controls.


“We have been extremely patient… our fishermen have been extremely responsible,” French Europe Minister Clément Beaune told French news channel CNews. “And so, from November 2, it’s over. We will engage in a dialogue if the British want it, but we are taking retaliatory measures.

As part of the retaliatory measures, France is “not ruling out” actions that would target Britain’s energy supply, Beaune and French Sea Minister Annick Girardin said in a joint statement. Attal said the threat applied to the Channel Islands, which rely heavily on French electricity.

“To be very frank, I am not happy with these measures,” Beaune said later at an event organized by the European Policy Center think tank. “We have to defend a very clear specific interest – fishing – because it is important and there is no reason to sacrifice it.”

“Either increase (retaliation) if the situation deteriorates or withdraw if the situation improves, it’s as simple as that,” he added.

Jersey, which is only 22 kilometers from the French coast, is a British Crown dependency outside the United Kingdom and can decide who is allowed to fish in its territorial waters. He granted the licenses based on his interpretation of the UK-EU trade deal and accused France of acting disproportionately.

Taking retaliatory measures: French Minister for European Affairs Clément Beaune.

Taking retaliatory measures: French Minister for European Affairs Clément Beaune.Credit:PA

Barrie Deas, of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations UK, described give-and-take action as “useless”.

“It may be a normal enforcement action, but in the context of the threatening noises coming from the French government, it is very concerning,” Deas told the BBC. “France seems determined to make this licensing problem worse, and I guess we have to ask ourselves why.”


Comments are closed.