Fishing: UK set for ‘high level Brexit meetings’ with EU in June
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High-level post-Brexit talks next week are set to discuss the dispute that erupted around Jersey last month, prompting a tense stand-off between the UK and France. Boris Johnson is set to face down Emmanuel Macron over Jersey amid an ongoing dispute over licences and rights to use the waters around the island. In early May, French fishermen blockaded Jersey in a furious protest about not being granted access to fish the waters around Jersey.
The blockade saw 60 French vessels surround the island’s St Helier port which forced the Government to dispatch two Royal Navy ships to patrol the waters.
During the dispute, France even threatened to cut off the island’s electricity supply.
This comes as Britain and the EU reached the first ever annual deal on the management of shared fish stocks after Brexit.
However, France24 reporter Emerald Maxwell revealed that the fishing talks this week did not cover the Jersey dispute.
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Ms Maxwell said: “The agreement does not resolve the dispute that erupted around Jersey last month between French and British fishermen which prompted the UK and France to send navy ships.
“Those fishing rights will be discussed at high-level Brexit meetings next week.”
The row has continued to flare up as just two weeks ago Jersey fishermen confronted a French trawler caught in the island’s protected waters.
Fisheries officers insisted the French trawler was not allowed to be there and that he had to stop fishing immediately.
Assistant Environment Minister Gregory Guida has described the breach as “serious” and confirmed Jersey would lodge a complaint with the European Commission.
The fishing deal struck earlier this week comes after months of bitter wrangling, which began in January and resulted in at least one extension after a number of disputes.
It sets out the total allowed catch for more than 75 shared stocks in UK and EU waters for the rest of the year.
Whitehall insiders have warned the pact would not “please everyone” as they prepared for potential backlash from the UK’s fishing industry.
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However, the European Union welcomed the new deal, claiming it paves the way for future cooperation with Britain after months of tensions since the signing of the post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
In a statement, Brussels officials said the deal created a “strong basis for continued EU-UK cooperation in the area of fisheries”.
Under the Brexit fisheries pact, Brussels agreed to hand back 25 percent of its fishing rights by value in UK waters.
The new arrangement will be phased in over transition period between now and June 2026.
Wednesday’s EU-UK agreement was reached after a phone call between Environment Secretary George Eustice and EU fisheries boss Virginijus Sinkevicius.
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