EU Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius met remotely with Jersey Senator Ian Gorst to discuss access for French boats
Last week, EU Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius met with Senator Ian Gorst, Jersey’s External Relations Minister on the issue of access to the island’s waters for French fishing vessels.
French boats from Normandy have traditionally fished in the waters around Jersey but the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, when ratified, will mean that these fishing boats would lose access to these waters as the UK becomes a third country.
Both parties have agreed to transitional arrangements that formalise an amnesty period in which those vessels that had held Granville Bay Area permits to fish Jersey waters before the provisional application of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) will continue to have access to Jersey waters until the end of April 2021.
The details of these traditional arrangements will now be confirmed in writing, once they have been finalised by the UK EU and Jersey. Meanwhile, the historic data needed to enable full TCA permits to be issued as soon as possible to qualifying vessels will be collected and transmitted to the relevant authorities.
Jersey Minister for the Environment, Deputy John Young, commented:
“I am pleased we have been able to confirm that our plans for an amnesty. Have the support of our partners. I believe that this solution would provide a workable transition to the new agreement as well as reassurance for our closest EU neighbours in France who have traditionally fished in our waters for many years. Our officers continue their work to process and issue the Jersey licenses to qualifying vessels as required by the Trade and Cooperation agreement. It is important that we implement these new arrangements as soon as possible to ensure a sustainable future for our fishery and local fleet.”
On the result of the talks an EU Commission official said:
“Vessels seeking authorisation to fish around Jersey need to demonstrate a track record to obtain a licence. The methodology for licensing in Jersey waters has to be agreed between the UK and the Commission on how to demonstrate track records of vessels. When this has been agreed, the data provided by the vessels concerned should enable the necessary exchange of information to start issuing full licences swiftly, where vessels meet the terms of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). This is a time-consuming exercise, in particular for small vessels where limited data is available.
“Awaiting the issuance of full licences, Commissioner Sinkevičius and Senator Ian Gorst, Jersey’s Minister for External Relations, confirmed the political commitment of the European Commission and the Government of Jersey to put in place, in coordination with UK, transitional arrangements for EU vessels fishing in Jersey waters, allowing those vessels that held Granville Bay Area permits to continue to have access to Jersey waters until the end of April 2021.”
Both parties agreed that they had a positive outcome to the online meeting.
Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius tweeted after the talks, “Good discussion Ian Gorst and result for fishermen!”
Senator Ian Gorst tweeted, “Good meeting with @VSinkevicius to resolve issues relating to transitional arrangements for access to Jersey waters while we work to issue permanent licenses in line with TCA requirements.”