Ben Habib fires warning over ‘reality’ of fishing control
France’s Minister for the Sea, Annick Girardin, reassured fishermen they had done well out of Brexit talks – particularly in Jersey waters. Ms Girardin said France welcomed the agreement reached by French President Emmanuel Macron and Secretary of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune.
The EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) that was signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the EU on December 30 will enable fishermen from the bloc to access UK waters for five and a half years.
But Ms Girardin has reassured French fishermen they will not be the “victims of Brexit”.
She said: “With this agreement, fishermen will not be the victims of Brexit.”
Ms Girardin also lashed out at Britain claiming the Government has “largely lied” to its people.
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She said: “The United Kingdom was not ready on the administrative side, or in Human Resources for Brexit.
“The UK is not living up its announcements at all and it has largely lied to its people.”
Before adding the “British wanted to recover 80 percent of their quotas” but claimed it would “ultimately be 25 percent”.
The Minister said: “And they wanted all of their waters to themselves, but we kept all of the access.”
She added: “We avoided a disaster.
“The Granville Bay Treaty [a former treaty governing Jersey waters] is being replaced by this new fishing agreement which says we can go to Jersey Bay with provisional licences.
“For the moment, some requests have been validated and for others, the United Kingdom is awaiting additional files to demonstrate that the fishermen have precedence.
“I proposed during this period of transition that all those who used to fish there, could for the moment go to these waters and we will study the files within this period of three months.”
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Fishing was one of the main issues Brexit negations were stalled last year.
The trade deal allowed the EU to keep 75 percent of the value of the fish it now catches in UK waters, with 25 percent being returned to British fishermen over the transition period.
From 2026, Britain will be able to cut quotas or exclude boats in a zone of 6-12 nautical miles.
It is also believed UK boats will have access to an extra £145million of fishing quota every year by this period.
An EU Member State-flagged vessel has no right to fish in UK waters until a licence is issued under the new rules.
Once the licence is obtained, the vessel can sail and engage in fishing activities in British waters.
After securing a trade deal with the EU last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has handed over £23m to the fishing industry as compensation for the “eye-watering” red tape.
Mr Johnson has been warned he could face an electoral backlash in fishing communities if trust was not restored with fishermen over the new deal.
The former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib says the Prime Minister must rectify issues around fishing within the deal.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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