french fishers channel islands

French fishers are concerned that London threatens the status quo that they hoped to maintain with the Channel Islands. Photo: David Broad

Attached to the Crown and not to the British government, the islands of Jersey and Guernsey believed to preserve their fishing rights but London has just decided otherwise in the UK Fisheries Bill, which is a threat to fishermen in the north of France and in particular, Normandy.

French journalist, Philippe Legueltel examines the problems being caused for fishermen in the region in his Les Echoes article.

The surprise is considerable for the Channel Islands. Located to the west of the coast of the Manche department, the archipelago of 170,000 inhabitants, made up of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm and Man, discovered, last week, an amendment from the government of London. The latter, on the occasion of the bill intended to regulate fishing in its waters with a view to Brexit, wishes to take control of the waters of the bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey. “The government leaves itself the possibility of extending the legislation to the dependencies of the Crown in order to respect their international obligations if they do not do it”, indicates the Regional Fisheries Committee of Normandy (CRPM), which sounds the alarm bells.

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The news comes to disturb relations between these Channel Islands and Normandy , at a time when these two partners, after the start of a quarrel in January 2020, were preparing for a status quo on their fishing relations. For these islands which have never taken part in the referendum for or against Brexit, because neither members of the United Kingdom nor represented in the British Parliament, the surprise is considerable.

Administered by their own government (with a bailiff at their head, appointed by the Queen) and governed by their own laws, they depend on specific fishing agreements. If the British government seemed to link the islands to negotiations with Brussels, London’s intention had recently shifted to pull them out of the agreement. Until the turnaround of last week.

“For joint management”

For Jersey, the so-called “Bay of Granville” agreements have been applied since 2004 (currently being revised and called into question), while for Guernsey, the London Convention has the force of law but has taken over. end of January 31st. Either rules negotiated in their time and which escape traditional agreements. “They like us want a status quo. This regional exception must be taken into account. This is a particularity that we defend together with our respective capitals ”, assure Hervé Morin, president of the Normandy region, and Marc Lefèvre, president of the Departmental Council of Manche. “We wish to continue the joint management of the waters of the Normandy-Breton Gulf”, affirms Dimitri Rogoff, President of the CPMR. “The islands want to continue working with us. The climate is

More than 200 French boats are concerned. If French professionals can no longer travel to the Channel Islands, the islanders will no longer be able to unload their fish in the ports of the Channel. However, 80% of Jersey’s fishing arrives in Granville and Carteret.

Brian J McMullin Solicitors
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