Two Royal Navy ships were sent to Jersey ‘as a precaution’ as the ongoing row with France over post-Brexit fishing rights deepened. HMS Severn and HMS Tamar were deployed to ‘monitor the situation’ amid fears that a fleet of French boats gathered off the capital St Helier were preparing to blockade the harbour.
France later despatched two police patrol boats as tensions continued to rise. Jersey’s external relations minister, Ian Gorst, said he would be speaking to the French fishermen in an attempt to defuse the worsening row.
He told BBC News: ‘It’s important that we respond to threats, but the answer to this solution is to continue to talk and diplomacy.’ The row erupted after the Jersey government said French fishing boats would be required to obtain a licence to fish in the island’s waters under the terms of the UK’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU which came into force last week. It caused anger in French fishing communities who complained boats which had operated there for years were suddenly having their access to the fisheries restricted.
The European Commission said French fishing boats were facing ‘additional conditions’ if they were to carry on operating, in breach of the terms of the agreement hammered out on Christmas Eve. But in a call with Jersey’s chief minister John Le Fondre, Boris Johnson again voiced his ‘unequivocal support’ for the actions taken by the island’s government. (Metro)