Brexit: Jersey minister demands French fishermen show logbooks
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Jersey officials have demanded French fishing fleets surrender their logbooks as proof of their right to fish in the Channel Island’s rich fishing grounds. The island’s Minister for External Relations, Ian Gorst, stressed that failure to produce paperwork showing ships had previously fished in UK territorial waters would bar French boats from obtaining fishing rights. It comes amid a fierce row between the UK and France over fishing arrangements in the English Channel post-Brexit.
Mr Gorst told Sky News: “There is a bureaucratic process which is in the trade deal, it’s not something that we in Jersey would have chosen, but it’s something that was agreed and the EU were very clear that they wanted one institutional arrangement.
“But the provision of logbooks should not be bureaucratic.
“These vessels were required to have logbooks previously.
“Those logbooks must be in existence, and our question remains to provide the logbooks and if the logbook shows you fish in our waters, you are entitled to a licence.
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“If there aren’t logbooks, then it’s very unlikely that those vessels are fished in our waters, and if those logbook shows that vessels haven’t fished in our waters they are equally not entitled to a licence.”
Mr Gorst’s statement followed reports that a British boat was seized amid a bitter row with France over post-Brexit fishing rights.
French authorities have argued the scallop trawler Cornelis had been fishing in France’s waters without a licence.
Mr Eustice told the Commmons the Government had launched an urgent investigation into the seizure.
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“What I’ve been able to establish so far in respect of that vessel is that they were on the list that was provided by the MMO (Marine Management Organisation) initially to the European Union,” he told MPs.
“The European Union, therefore, did grant a licence.
“We are seeing some reports that for some reason they were subsequently withdrawn from the list, it’s unclear why that might have been at the moment.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice added the UK would mount an “appropriate and calibrated,” response amid urgent talks with the French government.
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The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are monitoring this situation very carefully.
“We have relayed our concerns to the commission and the French government.
“We think the threats outlined yesterday evening were disappointing, were disproportionate and were simply not what we expect from a close ally and partner.
“I can’t at this moment set out exactly what our response might be. It will be appropriate, it will be calibrated.”
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