British Ships Will Patrol Sea Around Jersey after Post-Brexit Tensions Between UK and France

World » EU | May 5, 2021, Wednesday // 23:57
Bulgaria: British Ships Will Patrol Sea Around Jersey after Post-Brexit Tensions Between UK and France

A Royal Navy vessel is patrolling waters around Jersey amid concerns of a possible blockade by French boats over post-Brexit fishing rights.

France has threatened to cut off electricity to the island, which began issuing licences to French boats under a new system last week.

The threat to cut off Jersey's electricity supply - 95% of which is delivered by three underwater cables from France - was made by French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin.

French fishermen who claim their rights are being unfairly restricted are due to protest at Jersey's port of St Helier.

British Government said it was sending two Navy vessels to "monitor the situation".

HMS Severn, which has previously been used to shadow Russian navy warships off the English coast, arrived near Jersey in the early hours of Thursday morning.

British Ministry of Defence said that another ship would follow later. The ships are routinely used for fisheries protection - with sailors able to board other boats for spot checks.

British  Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged his "unwavering support" for Jersey, the largest Channel Island and a Crown dependency.

The AFP news agency reported that French vessels would sail on Thursday as part of a protest against the new rules, quoting the head of fisheries for the Normandy region, Dimitri Rogoff.

The new fishing rules - introduced by the Jersey government under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) - require French boats to show they have a history of fishing in Jersey's waters.

But French authorities said "new technical measures" for fishing off the Channel Islands had not been communicated to the EU, rendering them "null and void".

French fishermen have complained about being prevented from operating in British waters because of difficulties in obtaining licences.

Under an agreement with the EU, French boat operators must show a history of fishing in the area to receive a licence for Jersey's waters. But it has been claimed additional requirements were added without notice.

Jersey has the sole power to issue the licences, and as of last week all fishing boats were required to have a licence to operate there.

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