Fishers from Jersey Island protests in St Helier’s harbour this morning. Photo: ITV
Jersey Island fishers have warned that more potential disruptive protests could be on the cards if the outlook for the island’s fishing industry does not improve.
The warning comes from the President of the Jersey Fishermen’s Association, Don Thompson after the majority of the islands fleet were involved in a demonstration around St Helier’s Harbour this morning which culminated in a blockade between the pier heads.
The demonstration was held after the island’s fishing vessels experienced difficulties in landing their catches into French ports. Mr Thompson said he had appealed to the government to meet with industry representatives and develop a strategy for dealing with difficulties being experienced by fishermen trying to land their catch in France. However, he claimed that their request had not been acknowledged.
“The situation is just getting completely out of hand,” Mr Thompson told the Jersey Evening Post. “It seems to us that the French have got a policy of making our lives just more and more difficult. The frictionless trade that we were promised in return to access for our fishing grounds just has not materialised – it is almost a weekly occurrence that officials in the EU come up with a new constraint or another new hurdle or another new barrier.”
“What we seek is not to disrupt the operations of the port and we certainly do not want to turn the public against us – it is only because the support the public have shown us that we have some boats left. Disrupting the food supply and medicines is the last thing we want to do.
“But the situation now is that fishermen are feeling more and more desperate. Today was just a show of solidarity to say we are prepared to take action if we have to do. We do not want to take disruptive action but we are capable of it. The pier heads were completely blocked today so the potential is there.’
He added: “When fishermen have their backs up against the wall and they are going out of business then they have to do something.”