France threatens retaliatory measures over UK fishing rights

France is threatening retaliatory measures after the UK refused to grant extra licenses to French fishermen.  

The country is set to reportedly cut electricity supplies to Jersey, a self-governing British dependency, within the next six days if the government fails to comply.  

The threat has arisen from the two countries arguing over the agreement struck last year confirming that European fishermen are permitted to fish in specified UK waters if they were fishing in them previously, and if they obtain a license.  

The UK has allowed 200 licenses for disputed territories six to 12 miles off the country’s coast and the Channel Islands, but France is refusing to accept fewer than 244. 

READ MORE: Industry in ‘challenging’ position post-Brexit, warns Seafood Scotland

The dispute centres on the evidence necessary for the permits. 

French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune said on Wednesday: “In the next eight days or so, we will announce response measures … if we do not have concrete British signals on the issue of licences” 

France has not been the only state against the British response, as a further 10 countries have signed a joint declaration in criticism of the UK’s actions.  

Beaune added: “This is not a French problem … it is a European problem.” 

The statement reads: “We note in particular that the UK requires proof of geolocation for vessels under 12 metres. 

“Such proof is not provided for in the TCA [EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement] and fishermen are not required to do so under EU rules. 

The declaration has also appealed to the damage which the UK’s stance will deal to the small-scale fishing fleets with communities reliant on their ability to fish within “narrow maritime zones with no possibility of transferring their activity.”

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