UK and France is on a collision course over the issuing of fishing licences to small boats from the EU to fish in its territorial waters
The UK is again on a collision course with France over the issue of fishing licences to small boats from the European Union to fish in its territorial waters.
Yesterday, Tuesday 28 September, the UK notified France the EU that it will only be issuing 12 licences to boats out of 47 new applications made.
Since the introduction of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement in January this year, French fishers have become increasingly angry over how the UK has controlled access for EU-registered fishing vessels into its waters.
London says it has pursued a “reasonable approach”, issuing nearly 1,700 licences to EU boats to fish in Britain’s exclusive economic zone, with a total of 117 have been issued for the 6 to12-mile zone.
The UK has specified that, “As regards the 6 to12-mile zone…, EU vessels must provide evidence of a track record of fishing activity in those waters.”
“We have been considering applications for vessels of under 12 metres in length to fish in this zone and, on the basis of the evidence available, we are able to grant licences for 12 of the 47 applications made,” they said in their statement.
But French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin called it “a new British refusal to apply the conditions of the Brexit accord.
“French fishing must not be held hostage by the British for political ends,” she added. (AFP).
The other applications were rejected because of insufficient evidence that the boats fished the area between 2012 and 2016, as stipulated in the post-Brexit agreement reached last year between London and Brussels.
“We continue to work with the Commission and the French authorities and will consider any further evidence provided to support the remaining licence applications,” it added.
London insisted that its “approach has been reasonable and fully in line with our commitments in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA)”.
The list of successful vessels is due to be published on today.
The French authorities says that 87 applications have been made, with the discrepancy revolving around licences for vessels that replaced older boats that previously fished in the area.