Scottish Daily Mail
UK pledges fishing talks after French blockade
BRITAIN will increase diplomatic efforts to resolve the Jersey fishing crisis after a French flotilla blockaded St Helier harbour.
Two Royal Navy gunboats – HMS Severn and HMS Tamar – have now returned to port following Thursday’s standoff.
About 70 French vessels had sailed from Normandy to protest new criteria for fishing licences in the wake of Brexit.
Flares were let off and a French boat rammed the rear of a Jersey vessel – but they retreated after the Navy arrived.
A threat to blockade Calais also fizzled out yesterday.
President Emmanuel Macron’s government, which also deployed two ships to Jersey, blamed the action on a ‘British failure’ to abide by the terms of the UK’s trade deal with the European Union.
It has claimed it will ‘use all leverage at our disposal’ to protect its fishermen who are denied licences under the new regime. A French minister even threatened to cut off Jersey’s electricity supply.
Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick said yesterday efforts would be made to resolve the dispute with Paris and the EU.
He said: ‘What we have done is make very clear to the French ministers who said some very unwise and disproportionate comments that we will stand with the people of Jersey.
‘This issue now needs to be resolved by diplomacy, by the chief minister and the ministers of Jersey, with the support of the UK Government, working with their counterparts in France and the EU.’
Jersey has also promised talks with the fishermen. Chief Minister John Le Fondre said: ‘We are proposing the establishment of a forum which will enable the Government of Jersey to continue to engage with all fishermen in the region openly and constructively.’
FRENCH RETREAT But after Jersey will they now block Calais?