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About 50 French fishing boats took action off the coast of the British island of Jersey, about 20 kilometers off the coast of the French territory of Normandy. He held a few “scare circles” to protest the new British fishing regulations, but was driven back to France during the afternoon.
There was no blockade of the port of St. Helier, the main port of the island. The British Prime Minister feared this and so sent two British naval ships to the area “as a precaution”. In response, France also sent two patrol ships Jersey. Britain has recalled two naval ships after the departure of French fishermen.
Before their return, a delegation of French fishermen met with a minister in Jersey, but noted that Jersey “remains in its position”. “Now it is up to the ministers to come to an agreement. We can’t do much more.”
Lieven Busey, professor of English language and literature at KU Leuven, believes the same will happen now. “It will calm down without blowing up, but it needs to be discussed at the negotiating table. After pushing the conflict to a climax the desire to talk is often greater, as we have seen today.”
Tensions can be traced back to the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, Brexit. The Brexit deal includes conditions under which European fishermen are allowed to enter British waters. Much remains to be clarified in concrete terms. “For example, there should be talks about quotas: how many fish can be taken from British waters? There is still a lot of work to be done about this.”
Late last week, the Jersey government introduced new rules for French fishing boats plying in the waters around the largest Channel Island. Jersey is not part of the United Kingdom, but is a property of the British Crown.
New conditions have been imposed on 41 French fishing boats, meaning they can be active in the area for a shorter period of time and are allowed to remove fewer species from the water.
But those terms are not part of the Brexit deal between the UK and the EU, says French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin. They are not “aligned, discussed or notified”.Girardin has already threatened retaliation. Such as cutting off the power supply to Jersey, which gets its energy through underground cables departing from France.
Girardin fears that if France does not act, the fishermen will be banned from other fish-rich British waters as well.
Radio 1 Select. Hear conversation with Professor Lieven Busey in “The World Today” via
Sources: vrtnws.be and The World Today
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