UK approves Guernsey's 12-mile fishing limit

The Bailiwick of Guernsey can legislate fishing within 12 nautical miles of the islands after the UK government signed a Fisheries Management Agreement (FMA).

Guernsey's Commerce and Employment Department said it put the Bailiwick on a level playing field with the UK and the other Crown Dependencies.

Legislation including a licence system needs to be drafted and approved before any changes come into force.

The move has been welcomed by fishermen across the three islands.

Dougal Lane, president of the Guernsey Fishermans Association (GFA), said: "The signing of the FMA is a significant milestone in restoring licensing controls within Bailiwick waters.

"The GFA Members were fully supportive of the FMA, I never expected to see one signed, as this document requires seven governments to agree."

Steve Taylor, a fisherman who sits on the Sark Sea Fisheries Committee, said: "In recent years the Sark Sea Fisheries Committee had done a lot of work to protect its 3nm limit and the FMA can only strengthen the work already achieved.

"The signing of the FMA can only be good for the future of not only Sark's fishing industry, but also the fishing industries in Alderney and Guernsey.

"This was a step towards ensuring that the Bailiwick fleets can continue to fish sustainably in the future."

Commerce and Employment said discussions were continuing with the States of Jersey and the island's fisherman.

It said draft legislation was expected to go before the three Bailiwick governments in spring 2012, which if approved would be sent to the Privy Council for Royal Assent before becoming law.

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