The UK has issued 23 more fishng licences to French fishermen a day after the deadline set by the EU
On Saturday, 11 December, the UK issued 18 licences for EU replacement vessels in the UK territorial waters and 5 licences for EU vessels to access Jersey waters.
The UK granted the licences a day after the deadline set by the French Government to resolve the post-Brexit battle over fishing rights.
Further technical consultations will continue with the aim to have 7 additional replacement vessels licenced by the end of today, Monday, 13 December.
At the end of November, the European Commission had invited the UK to intensify joint efforts in order to conclude on all outstanding licence requests by EU fishing vessels by 10 December. With today’s announcements, this resulted in 83 additional vessels receiving clarity for their fishing in the UK waters.
The EU Commission has said that the UK’s decision is an important step in a long process seeking full implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
A Commission spokesperson said, “A number of vessels seeking access to waters have not yet received a licence. The European Commission will continue to work, together with France, in order to ensure full implementation of the TCA and will examine the legal circumstances around every requested license which has not been granted.”
A UK Government Spokesperson said:
“The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spoke last night to European Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, following several weeks of intensive technical discussions on licensing.
“Throughout this process, the UK’s approach has been evidence-based and in line with our commitments under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). We have licensed vessels where sufficient evidence has been provided that demonstrates that a vessel qualifies for access under the TCA. Where that evidence has not been provided, licences have not been issued.
“On direct replacement vessels, we have taken an approach in line with the TCA which provides stability and ensures the sustainability of our fisheries. Last night, following receipt of new evidence from the Commission, the UK licensed 18 replacement vessels on the basis of this methodology. Further technical work on 7 more licences for direct replacement vessels is scheduled to conclude on Monday.
“Jersey has today announced that it can, following receipt of new data this week, issue permanent licences to an additional 5 qualifying vessels currently on temporary licences. This will take the total permanent licences issued by Jersey to 130.
“This now concludes this phase of intensive talks on licensing.”
Jersey’s Minister for the Environment, Deputy John Young, commented:
“These five vessels were in the ‘temporary’ licensing category, where some limited data had been provided. Thanks to the cooperation between Jersey, the European Commission and UK Government, further data has now been received and the technical exercise can be brought to a conclusion.
“As a result, I can grant these vessels permanent licences according to the evidence requirements under the TCA. This brings the total number of permanent licenses issued to French vessels to 130. It is also important that we will see Jersey’s seven applications determined.”
“We can now begin the important work of progressing the nature and extent of fishing in our waters as set out in the TCA, including by these vessels; confirming what species fishermen are permitted to catch, the period they can do so, and the measures required to conserve our fish stocks.”
Jersey’s Minister for External Relations, Senator Ian Gorst, responded to the news by saying, “This technical process has been an intensive one, requiring close diplomatic cooperation between Jersey, the United Kingdom and European Commission. Ministers and officials have met regularly in recent days and had productive discussions with UK Secretary of State Eustice and European Commissioner Sinkevičius. As a result, we have been able to reach an evidence-based resolution that concludes our technical discussions.”