The Guernsey government has started to issue permits to French vessels for access to the islands Bailiwick waters.

French vessels have been ‘locked-out’ of the Bailiwick since Saturday, 1 February last when a Treaty from 1964 expired on the date of the UK leaving the EU.

The islands Committee for Economic Development (CED) has said that the temporary authorisations would allow them to operate in Guernsey, Alderney and Sark until the end of the ‘Transition Period’ on 31 December 2020.

They said the “interim” nature of the permits has been designed to avoid creating “new rights for French vessels” before post-Brexit negotiations take place.

The new fishing permit system caused controversy amongst French fishermen who regularly fish the 6 to 12 mile zone around the islands.

The Guernsey government has claimed that it was required to introduce the system after the London Fisheries Convention ceased to apply to it after Brexit.

The Guernsey government has said that this new system was “EU law for Member State vessels fishing in third country waters” and was not introduced to protect their own interests.

Guernsey authorities have blamed confusion raised by a lack of warning given to them in the lead-up to Brexit for the temporary lack of access.

There were claims that Guernsey fishermen were told not to land in France to sell their catch while the dispute was ongoing.

Lyndon Trott, vice president of the Policy and Resources Committee, said he condemned the “disruptive and intimidating behaviour shown by some French fishermen”.

“We have not introduced the authorisation regime for our own reasons, but because it is a requirement under EU law for Member State vessels fishing in third country waters,” Deputy Trott added.

Deputy Neil Inder, who sits on the CED, said the system would “provide a period of stability”.

“Since it is temporary and does not any create new rights for French vessels in Guernsey waters, it is without prejudice to our future partnership,” he said.

Source: BBC

Guernsey start to issue permits to third country fishing vessels

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