United Kingdom and France measure forces on the island of Jersey due to fishing restrictions

Dozens of French fishing boats protest the controls. The United Kingdom has sent two patrol boats and France is threatening to block the island’s electricity supply.

Dozens of French fishing boats gathered on Thursday outside the port of Saint Hélier, in Jersey, to protest the restrictions that have been imposed on them to fishing in the waters of this island under British jurisdiction, which has unleashed a dispute over the Brexit agreement.

The objective of the operation is to “demonstrate peacefully” to denounce what they consider a “provocation”, A spokeswoman for the Normandy Regional Committee for Maritime Fisheries explained to Efe.

The spokeswoman indicated that some 60 boats They had left different ports in Normandy and Brittany, such as Granville or Saint-Malo to take part in this action, which was scheduled to last until early in the afternoon.

At the origin of everything is the publication on the 30th of a list with 41 French boats authorized to fish until the end of the year in Jersey waters -which is located about twenty kilometers from the French coast- but with limitations of time, of species that they can catch and of gears that they can use.

For the Regional Fisheries Committees of Normandy and Brittany these limitations “are not foreseen” in the Brexit treaty signed on December 24 between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Furthermore, any technical measure must be notified “soon enough to the other party to discuss it” and that “has not been done”.

Finally, restricting the number of days constitutes “a violation of the treaty”.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Wednesday the dispatch of two patrol boats of the British Royal Navy to Jersey, in response to threats of reprisals launched the day before by the French Government.

It reacted in this way to the statements of the Minister of the Sea, Annick Girardin, who on Tuesday was “outraged” by the conditions that accompanied the list of 41 licenses for French fishing vessels and said that Paris will be inflexible with the Brexit agreement and that it has pressure media, such as the supply of electricity to Jersey via a submarine cable from the French shores.

Asked about the shipment of British military ships, the spokeswoman for the Normandy Regional Committee for Maritime Fisheries insisted that their intention is for the protests to be peaceful.

In any case, together with his colleagues in Brittany, they have called for “a suspension of all economic relations with Jersey”, including the ferry that connects the island with France and the application of “economic sanctions”.