United Kingdom sending patrol boats to Jersey over post-Brexit dispute

United Kingdom sending patrol boats to Jersey over post-Brexit dispute

Downing Street announced Wednesday evening that the United Kingdom government would be sending two offshore patrol vessels to the waters surrounding Jersey "to monitor the situation", and said any blockade of ports by French fishing boats in the Channel Islands would be "completely unjustified".

The prime minister held talks with Jersey's Chief Minister John Le Fondré and Minister of External Affairs Ian Gorst, and "stressed the urgent need for a de-escalation in tensions" between Jersey and France.

But this list was accompanied by new demands which France's fisheries ministry has said were not arranged or discussed with Paris, effectively creating new zoning rules for the waters near Jersey.

On Friday, Britain authorised 41 ships equipped with Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) technology - which allows ships to be located - to fish in waters off the island of Jersey, which is a self-governing British Crown Dependency.

"With regards to Jersey, I would remind you, for example, of electricity transmission by underwater cable. He said that any blockade (of the island of Jersey) would be completely unjustified", the statement read.

"We absolutely respect the historic rights of French fishermen to fish in Jersey waters as they have been doing for centuries", he insisted, but pointed out that under the post-Brexit trade deal all fishing vessels have to provide figures for their catches in the past three years to obtain licenses.

The self-governing island of Jersey is one of the Channel Islands, sitting just 14 miles off the French coast.

"The Prime Minister underlined his unwavering support for Jersey", it added.

The government argued the permits must "correspond to the previous activity a vessel has carried out in Jersey waters" under the terms of the TCA and its new system was "in line with the data submitted by the French and European Union authorities".

The UK Government said the move was "clearly unacceptable" as efforts to resolve the row continued.

Senator Gorst said Jersey was committed to "finding a smooth transition to the new regime" and he would be speaking to the French government on Tuesday to clear up any confusion.

"It is important that we right away condemn this move, I did so with the (European) Commission, condemning the breach of the Brexit agreement", Girardin said, warning the Jersey move "would set a risky precedent for access elsewhere".

"It would seem disproportionate to cut off electricity for the sake of needing to provide extra details so that we can refine the licences".

"I am sorry it has come to this, but we will do so if we have to", she said.

"If French fishermen or the authorities have further evidence they would like to submit, we will update the licences to reflect that evidence".

Britain is responsible for the island's foreign relations even though Jersey is not technically part of the UK.

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