France is ready to retaliate against new rules governing fishing near the Channel Islands – and may even go so far as to leave Jersey without electricity, French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin has suggested.
During his conference in the French Parliament on Tuesday, Girardin insisted that the rules on British waters were “completely unacceptable” and “void,” as they did not comply with the Brexit agreement agreed and signed between London and Brussels last year, she said.
“In the agreement, there are retaliatory measures and we are ready to use them,” the minister warms up.
She also noted that Jersey, a self-governing British Crown dependency, was powered by submarine cables coming from France, suggesting that the power supply could be cut off.
“I’m sorry it’s come to this, [but] we will do it if we have to, “ she said.
On Friday, Jersey approved 41 vessels fishing in the waters off the largest of the Channel Islands, populated by more than 107,000 people. However, this was accompanied by a set of new rules that “was not arranged or discussed [with France], and which we were not notified of, “ said the French Ministry of Fisheries to AFP.
These measures effectively created new zoning rules for the waters near the island, while adding the limited number of days fishermen could spend at sea and the types of machinery they could use, the ministry added.
Meanwhile, the British government has insisted that Jersey “is responsible for its own territorial waters”according to a statement to the BBC.
Fisheries have been one of the hardest fought issues during – and after – the Brexit negotiations.
In recent weeks, there have been growing tensions between London and Paris over access to the canal area, with French fishermen increasingly complaining about difficulties in getting permission from the UK to work on their livelihoods.
Last month, a group of angry fishermen staged a protest against Boulogne and blocked trucks delivering British fish to France.
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