Brexit: UK grants fishing licences, France demands more

Good news for our fishermen. Guernsey (United Kingdom) has granted 40 fishing licenses to French boats, which will thus be able to continue fishing in its waters after February 1, 2022, the government of the Channel Islands announced. The announcement comes amid a standoff between Paris and London over a post-Brexit fishing license, with the French government accusing the British of granting them too little. By adding three other ships, which would replace the ships that had left the French fleet, Guernsey would grant 43 licenses for 58 applications. They will be able to fish 6-12 nautical miles from the Channel Islands, as was the case before Brexit.

For the remaining 15 boats, “any additional data will be investigated,” Guernsey’s government said in a statement. The island’s foreign minister, Jonathan Le Tok, hailed a “significant step” in its licensing roadmap, hoping it would bring “certainty and stability”. The issue of fishing licenses is less problematic with Guernsey, which Paris considers a “credible partner” in the negotiations, than it is with London and Jersey.

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European fishermen can continue to operate in UK waters provided they can prove that they have previously fished there. But the French and British debate the nature and extent of supporting documents to be provided. Since January 1, 2021, France has obtained about a thousand fishing licenses in British waters and the Channel Islands, but Paris is still seeking about a hundred. The European Commission recently asked London to settle a post-Brexit dispute with France over fishing licenses by 10 December.

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In an area 6 to 12 nautical miles off the British coast, proceedings are tense for 40 boats (over 12 metres), which were recently launched to replace older ships. London refused to issue them a license at this time, believing that these were new requests as they pertained to more modern and often more powerful ships.

France considers the status of some thirty ships to be of “high priority”, which is to be resolved as a matter of urgency, as they carry a large proportion of their catches in these British waters, as far as their reach. Not there.

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The granting of 43 fixed licenses by the Channel Islands of Guernsey is “excellent news”, but the “fight” continues for the remaining “111 licenses” for French fishermen after Brexit, AFP told the French minister for the French Sea. “We, the European Commission and France, have made good progress in a few weeks with Guernsey. The efforts are paying off and the work continues to give maximum visibility to professionals. The battle is not over: 111 licenses remain to be obtained,” Mainly from Jersey and London, said Annick Girardin.

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