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Government works to resolve misunderstanding on fishing licences

04 May 2021

fishing boats
The Government of Jersey regrets the decision by the Normandy Presidents to close the Bureau de Normandie in St Helier. The Minister for External Relations believes this action results from a misunderstanding that can be put right. 

Senator Ian Gorst said: “We want to heal the relationship as soon as possible, and we hope the Presidents will take the opportunity to reverse the decision. Jersey’s Government remains completely committed to its joint Channel Islands representative office in Caen, Normandy.”

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is explicit about the way licences should be issued. It says ‘…each Party shall grant vessels of the other Party access to fish in its waters reflecting the actual extent and nature of fishing activity that it can be demonstrated was carried out during the period…”. 

This means Jersey must issue licences which correspond to the previous activity a vessel has carried out in Jersey waters. Jersey’s government has issued licences in line with the TCA, and in line with the data submitted by the French and EU authorities. 

Senator Gorst added: “We are entering a new era and it takes time for all to adjust. Jersey has consistently shown its commitment to finding a smooth transition to the new regime, most evidently by creating an interim arrangement to allow French fishermen time to submit their data. 

“That commitment remains. If French fishermen or the authorities have further evidence they would like to submit, we will update the licences to reflect that evidence. There is no time-limit on submitting evidence, and we would like to offer French fishers the opportunity to submit data directly to Jersey, in case they feel information is not travelling quickly enough through the Normandy/France/EU/UK/Jersey route.”

Normandy, France and the EU have informed Jersey that they are unhappy with the conditions placed on fishing licences and fishing in general. Such complaints are taken very seriously, and the Government will respond in full. 

However, the Government of Jersey has acted on legal advice, in good faith, and with due regard to non-discriminatory and scientific principles at every stage of these proceedings. 

The Government remains committed to the sustainable management of Jersey waters for the benefit of this and future generations.
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