More than 50 French fishing boats closed Thursday the Port of Saint Helier, the capital of Jersey, to protest the fishing conditions of French fishermen in their waters after Brexit. Great Britain and France sent patrol boats around the island.
“The boats came from everywhere, from Brittany, from Normandy,” French fisherman Roman Davoudi told AFP. Other Hunters who participated in the protest noted: “It is unbelievable that all these people have gathered.”
French fishermen block the port, but ensure their demonstration is peaceful.
Jersey Ian Gurst, a representative for foreign relations, told Reuters that the Jersey authorities, affiliated with the British Crown Channel, had agreed to meet with representatives of the protesters.
Earlier, French Minister of Maritime Affairs Annick Girardin said France was ready to take “retaliatory measures” if British authorities restricted access of French fishermen to Jersey waters. It comes, among other things, for a blackout in Jersey. 95 percent of the island receives electricity via submarine cables from France.
Last week, according to French authorities, the United Kingdom published a list of 41 French vessels licensed to fish in Jersey waters out of 344 applications submitted. The French side claims that the list is accompanied by new requirements that have not been “agreed, discussed or announced” within the framework of this year. Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
The British Ministry of Defense sent two patrol boats to Jersey, saying it was “a strict precaution (taken) in agreement with the Jersey government.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that any possible blockade of Jersey ports by French fishermen “would be totally unjustified”. He called for a halt to the escalation of tensions.
France dispatched two maritime gendarmerie patrol boats to the Jersey area on Thursday.
“The + British + maneuvers off the coast of Normandy Island in Jersey did not impress us,” French Minister of State for European Affairs Clement Boone told AFP.
I spoke to David Frost, Minister for Relations with the European Union in the United Kingdom. “Our will is not to preserve the tensions, but to implement the agreements quickly and completely,” Boone said.