Brexit: Jersey minister demands French fishermen show logbooks
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Speaking at a conference on fishing in Roscoff, Brittany, one French fisherman said that their representatives needed to “step up”. Another said that the “only thing we have left” is the “solidarity between us”.
The remarks from French fishermen come amid continuing EU-mediated talks over what France perceives as a lack of access to UK waters after Brexit.
France has repeatedly complained the UK and Jersey were not granting as many licenses as French fishermen were applying for.
Two Royal Naval river-class patrol boats, HMS Severn and HMS Tamar, were sent to Jersey in May, after French fishermen threatened to blockade Jersey’s harbour in protest.
France had previously said it could stop UK boats landing in its ports, and set an ultimatum deadline of the Monday after the start of the COP26 climate summit.
However, after the UK Government threatened to start “rigorous” checks on EU fishing activities in retaliation, just hours before his own deadline, the French President climbed down.
Speaking to France Jamet, a National Front MEP, Jean-Gerald Lubrano, manager of the vessel Armement Lubrano based out of Herault, said: “We don’t defend our sovereignty and our interests in a very strong way. I think that’s what fishing needs today.”
He added: “I believe that what we need today is that within Europe, our politicians and our representatives step up because fishing needs this more than ever.”
Vincent Scotto, a fisherman in Sete, said: “That’s the only thing we have left, the solidarity between us. And above all the union. Union is strength.
“Today, what we need is to be united in order to achieve this. We can’t do it alone. Fishermen know that. We need everyone.”
Mr Lubrano agreed: “Union, certainly, but also the support of the public opinion and our politicians because if we have the public opinion, we will have the politicians.”
Bernard Perez, president of the Occitania Fisheries Committee, said that “we support the whole profession in relation to Brexit.
He added: “Alone, we are only a drop of water, together we will be an ocean.”
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Meanwhile, Olivier Mercier, a shipowner and fisherman based out of La Rochelle-Hossegor, believes the British “risk being fooled”.
He claims the “big winner” will be “industrialists who have already started buying small English boats”.
Mr Mercier added: “You can’t buy quota, but you can buy a boat and then take the quota and put it on another boat. A company buys small boats, transfers the quota from small to large, disposes of the small boats or destroys them.”
Ms Jamet argued that French fishermen stood in solidarity “with their comrades hit by a Brexit deal ‘negotiated’ by a Government that gave up defending them.”
In the video, she added that Annick Girardin, French minister of the sea, a speaker at the fishing conference, “prefers to use the chequebook rather than take into account all the difficulties that our fishermen are facing.”
Florent de Kersauson, a regional councillor of Brittany and National Front politician, said that “as usual, the small ones have been ignored”.
He said: “We ignored the people who earn their living every day here and who used to go to these areas naturally, normally, to do their fishing.
“And of course, today, they can’t even prove that they have been fishing there for 20 years. But the people of Jersey know that.
“So, if we knew how to talk to the British, and particularly the people of Jersey, I think we would be able to reach an agreement with them.”
Ms Jamet added: “Fewer boats, more constrained quotas, narrower territories, exploding regulations, these are the measures outlined by the Minister of the Sea.
“And one word, one word only, to our fishermen: ‘Adapt!’”
As per the Brexit agreement reached with the EU at the end of last year, 25 percent of the EU’s fishing rights in UK waters will be transferred over to the UK from 2021 to 2026.
However, the majority of that – 15 percent – will be transferred in 2021, with a further 2.5 percent being transferred over in the following four years.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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