Brussels had put pressure on London while French fishermen carried out several actions to make themselves heard and protest against the British refusal to grant more professional licenses. This Wednesday, Guernsey announced that 40 fishing licenses would finally be granted to French boats, which will thus be able to continue to operate in its waters after February 1, 2022. 43 in fact, out of the 58 requests made, since the government of the he Anglo-Norman island specifies that three other boats would replace ships which left the French fleet. Everyone will therefore be able to fish in the 6-12 nautical mile zone off the island, as was the case before Brexit.
For the remaining 15 boats, “any additional data will be examined,” Guernsey said. The island’s foreign minister, Jonathan Le Tocq, hailed an “important step” in its licensing roadmap, hoping that it brings “certainty and stability”. It must be said that the issue of fishing licenses is less problematic with Guernsey, which Paris considers a “reliable partner” in the negotiations, than it is with London and Jersey.
The account is still not there in UK waters
European fishermen can continue to work in UK waters provided they can prove that they fished there previously. But the French and the British argue over the nature and extent of the supporting documents to be provided.
Since January 1, 2021, France has obtained around a thousand fishing licenses in British waters and the Channel Islands, but Paris is still asking for around a hundred.
The European Commission recently asked London to settle the post-Brexit dispute over fishing licenses with France by December 10.
In the 6 to 12 nautical mile zone from the British coast, the proceedings are tense for 40 boats (over 12 meters) which were recently launched to replace old ships. London refuses for the moment to issue them a license, considering that these are new requests because they relate to more modern and often more powerful ships.
France wants to see the situation of some thirty ships, considered as “high priority”, to be resolved as a matter of urgency, because they carry out a large part of their catches in these British waters to which they no longer have access.