Jersey States fund Guernsey fishing licence battle

  • Published
Guernsey fishing boat
Image caption,
New rules were introduced governing previously unregulated fisheries around Guernsey in 2013

A Jersey fisherman has been given a grant by the States to help fight a ban on him fishing in Guernsey waters.

Environment Minister Steve Luce would not say how much the payment was but that it was to help with legal fees.

Steve Channing was not granted a licence to fish in Guernsey waters under a scheme to preserve fish stocks and is challenging the decision.

He said there was a principle at stake as he had been fishing in Guernsey waters for years.

Guernsey's Commerce and Employment Department, which is responsible for safeguarding the island's marine environment, has yet to comment.

Guernsey fisheries scheme

  • The licensing law came into force on 1 February 2013
  • It means anyone wanting to fish commercially in the area between three and 12 nautical miles (nm) around the Bailiwick of Guernsey has to be licensed
  • The Guernsey, Alderney and Sark authorities introduced the system in a bid to protect fish stocks and the livelihoods of local fishermen
  • Prior to the law coming in, fishing in the area, about 1,000 sq nm of sea, had been unregulated since 2007
  • Those breaking the law were warned of harsh penalties after the skipper of a Devon-based trawler was fined £6,000
  • Before the law was brought in, Jersey's Economic Development Department offered to pay the £500 administration fee needed to apply for a licence on behalf of its fishermen

Deputy Luce said he had given Mr Channing a small amount of money to start with but there may be more in future as it was an important issue.

Mr Channing said: "It needs challenging. If I didn't believe we would win in the end, I wouldn't challenge it but I believe we will get a good outcome."

Don Thompson, president of the Jersey Fisherman's Association, said the gesture was welcome but the government could do more.

He said: "Giving some support to a single fisherman will help that fisherman but it is only a fraction of the cost of that court case.

"What we would have liked to have seen is the States of Jersey put a case to support the whole industry against what is a very discriminative licensing scheme."

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