To defend its fishermen, France has given itself 15 days to study the retaliatory measures to be taken against the United Kingdom. Paris calls for European solidarity. Deeming “unacceptable” the too low number of fishing licenses granted in the British waters, the government intends to enforce respect.their number has already fallen sharply in France, added to this the Covid-19 crisis and Brexit, the profession seems in danger.
“The boats in the region need access to English waters rather in the period October to January and we are arriving in that period. The problem is that we will end up with approximately 90% of the European fleet. , therefore French, but also Belgian and Dutch, in French waters “ explains Étienne Dachicourt, general manager of the Maritime Cooperative of the Etaploise region, in Calais in the Hauts de France. For him, the dangers are twofold: too much competition and risk of shortage.
This fisherman from Boulogne-sur-Mer, Jean Marie Baheu, owner of the boat Le Murex can not wait any longer, he does not understand what is getting stuck:
“We applied for a fishing license since January, we gave proof of prior art, we gave all the proof we could provide, and we have proof, and then there is no nothing that actually comes. “
In total, according to the British government “almost 1700 vessels have obtained a license to fish in the 12-200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone” and “117 for the 6-12 mile zone”.
Yesterday, the Channel Island of Jersey gave 64 licenses to French boats which were able to prove that they were fishing in this area before Brexit. 31 others obtained only a temporary authorization. But 75 other vessels have been recalibrated and will therefore have to cease all fishing activity in Jersey waters within 30 days.
Brussels is trying to solve the problem, but EU Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius seems helpless so far:
_ “We do not yet know what information was missing, because we provided everything we had. And if there is something missing, we will of course work closely with the French authorities to ensure that this information arrive as quickly as possible at their destination. ” _
As for the government of the island of Guernsey, it has undertaken to extend the provisional authorizations “until January 31, 2022 for all ships, in order to offer certainty and stability in the meantime”. But nothing is settled.