Guernsey

French condemn Guernsey 'ban on fishing boats'

Fishing boats in Guernsey
Image caption In a statement, Guernsey said French vessels could continue to fish in its waters "on a time-limited basis"

French authorities have condemned what they claim is a ban on French fishing boats in Guernsey territorial waters.

The National Assembly criticised Guernsey's "hasty and disrespectful" decision to "close the fishing zones for French boats".

However, Guernsey said it had created new legislation to ensure French vessels could continue to fish in its waters "on a time-limited basis".

It said it ensured continued access for 2020 for French vessels.

The London Fisheries Convention, which provided access for French vessels to Bailiwick waters, ended on 31 January.

But, to provide stability for French vessels in Bailiwick waters, the governments of Guernsey, Alderney and Sark implemented the package of measures, which will allow French vessels who previously fished in the Bailiwick waters to continue to do so.

French authorities said the establishment of fishing licences for individual French vessels was too vague and failed to meet the minimum requirements needed to ensure the continuity of fishing on the Normandy coasts in the coming weeks.

Image caption The Assembly said it was in contact with Guernsey authorities "in order to find a quick solution"

Gavin St Pier, president of Guernsey's Policy and Resources Committee, said the measures provided "continuity and stability to enable negotiations to take place".

He said it was an "important step to assist the negotiations during this year and to ensure that we protect our good neighbourhood relationship with France and in particular Normandy".

Charles Parkinson, president of the Committee for Economic Development, said the stance "helps to protect the interests of Bailiwick fishermen during the Transition Period".

He said they will need to negotiate their "own future fisheries management arrangements" to suit the needs of Bailiwick from 2021 onwards.

The territorial waters of all three islands were increased last year and, at the time, a States of Guernsey statement said it increased the island's ability to "manage and conserve" fish stocks.

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