Jersey fishing row: French protest over access on power cable beach

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Image source, Madeline Hill
Image caption, People gathered on Armanville beach in Normandy, where the power cable to Jersey lands

A fresh protest over post-Brexit rights for fishing vessels to access Jersey's waters has been held in France.

More than 100 fishermen gathered on Armanville beach in Normandy on Saturday, where the power cable which supplies the Channel Island lands.

The protest is the latest in a dispute over access to Jersey's waters for French fishing boats.

People gathered to express frustration at plans to restrict access to the number of vessels from 1 October.

They said nothing has been done and they feared they will lose their livelihoods, if Government of Jersey restrictions over how many days they can fish and what equipment they can use are introduced as planned.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, French fishing boats protested the introduction of a licensing scheme in May

In May, dozens of boats blockaded St Helier harbour in protest, a move which saw Royal Navy ships deployed to monitor the situation.

This move followed the intervention of French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin, who threatened to cut off Jersey's electricity over the restrictions initially introduced in May.

Image source, Madeline Hill
Image caption, Politicians and fishermen spoke about their frustrations over the post-Brexit licensing scheme due to come in from 1 October

Negotiations over fishing rights under the UK and EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), signed ahead of Brexit in December 2020 are ongoing, after a further three month delay in July.

They are based around fishing vessels being able to demonstrate a history of operating in Jersey waters between 2017 and 2020.

Currently, 48 fishing vessels from France larger than 12m will be licensed to fish in Jersey waters once the scheme begins.

'Find a solution'

The fishermen were joined by local politicians from up and down the coast of Normandy, who expressed their support for the industry.

They said the current situation cannot continue and more than 100 people could lose their livelihoods.

Image source, Madeline Hill
Image caption, Deputy for La Manche Bertrand Sorre has called for more negotiations to take place

Deputy for La Manche Bertrand Sorre called on the EU and UK to solve the dispute through negotiation.

He said: "It's not possible to continue like this, fishermen want to work, to do their jobs.

"What is the reality here? We don't accept, we never accept to lose our possibility to fish in these waters, so we have to find a solution."

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