Royal Navy warships on standby over fresh post-Brexit fishing row with France

ROYAL Navy gunships have been placed on standby in the Channel in a fresh row with French trawlermen over post-Brexit fishing rights.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 10:57 am
Pictured: This Sunday morning, fishermen in Portsmouth welcomed back the return of HMS Severn from its deployment to assist the fishermen of Jersey. Photo: Simon Czapp/Solent News & Photo Agency

Brussels had applied for at least 47 new permits for European boats to fish near the British coastline.

However, only 12 were granted, outraging the French government, who accused the UK of taking French fishing ‘hostage’ and warned of ‘retaliatory action’ following the decision.

Now, it’s feared french fishermen were preparing to blockade Jersey.

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The Sun reported that Royal Navy warships had been placed on standby to defend British fishing rights.

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France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune warned they would ‘not hesitate’ at retaliating if they felt short changed.

However, a Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman insisted: ‘Our approach has been reasonable and fully in line with our commitments in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

‘We have been considering applications for vessels of under 12m in length to fish in this zone and, on the basis of the evidence available, we are able to grant licences for 12 of the 47 applications made.”

The spokesman said the UK will continue to work with the European Commission and French authorities ‘and will consider any further evidence provided to support the remaining licence applications’.

France’s minister for the sea Annick Girardin, quoted in Le Monde, said: ‘It is a new refusal of the British to apply the conditions of the Brexit accord despite all the work undertaken together.

‘I have only one watchword; to obtain definitive licences for our fishermen as the accord foresees.

‘French fishing must not be taken hostage by the British for political ends.’

French minister for Europe Clement Beaune said ‘we will not hesitate to take retaliatory action, collectively’, the Daily Telegraph reported.

‘We understand and share the exasperation of our fishermen.’

It is the latest flashpoint in the long-running Brexit rows over fishing rights.

In May, Royal Navy patrol vessels were dispatched to Jersey in response to protests by French fishermen.

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