A French-British confrontation over a fishing dispute
The United Kingdom has dispatched two Royal Navy escort vessels to monitor a protest in the waters around Jersey’s main port amid a fishing rights dispute with France.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “Any blockade will be totally unjustified,” with more than 100 French fishing boats ready to sail to the island on Thursday, indicating that sending sea vessels is a “precaution.”
The ships HMS Severn and HMS Tamar were deployed on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Both are armed with a cannon designed to protect against fast-moving attack aircraft and two machine guns on deck.
This comes after a threat from France to cut off electricity to Jersey due to the new rules for French fishing boats in the post-Brexit period.
Escalate to negotiate? Maybe that’s the only way the UK gov actually listens.
French military ship heads to Jersey to join post-Brexit fishing protest as Royal Navy patrols watershttps://t.co/ifIr2gEgcf pic.twitter.com/FnXUPlM3Yp
— C.E. Martins (@ceamartins) May 6, 2021
The new fishing rules, introduced by the Jersey government under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), require French boats to demonstrate that they have a history of fishing in Jersey waters.
However, the French authorities said that the “new technical measures” for fishing off the Channel Islands had not been notified to the European Union, making them “null and void”.
Dmitry Rogoff, president of the French Fishermen’s Association, had previously made it clear that 100 French fishing boats would sail to the port of Jersey on Thursday as part of a protest against the new rules, stressing that they would return safely from the port.
Source: BBC + agencies