French fisherman supports retaliation over fishing row
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This comes as French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin announced that French fishermen who are not granted a licence by the UK will receive up to £50million to cover their lost earnings. Despite the government’s promise to carry on the “fight every day”, fishermen have clapped back, calling the plans a “defeat”.
Pascal Delacour, who is in charge of a trawler in Granville accused France of having “lowered its pants”.
Speaking to French news outlet AFP, he said: “The defeat was predictable. It’s a fiasco.
“France has lowered its pants and abandoned its young sailors because it is above all they who do not have the licences.”
Meanwhile, President of the Côtes-d’Armor fisheries Committee Alain Coudray echoed this, saying: “France is lowering its pants.
“With the English we must not give up a centimetre, you have to show your teeth, otherwise…'”
Ms Girardin had also threatened the possibility of “fleet reductions”.
She told France Inter radio: “I hate talking about the idea of financing boats that don’t go out to sea as much as you do, but in all transparency, we do need to organise the possibility of fleet reductions.
But she added: “We will continue to fight every day to get what should be ours and so that those 150 licences arrive.
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“I can tell you that we will have a package worth at least 40 million euros (£33million) to help with their finances.”
In response to the announcement, president of the Brittany region Loig Chesnais-Girard said: “The battle is not lost, and negotiations are not over… I cannot accept that we start a massive move to destroy boats.
He added: “We need diplomacy and the capacity to carry through with these talks so that the agreement is respected because you know as well as I, if we give up on this, there will be other issues.”
Oliver Leprêtre, president of the Hauts-de-France regional fisheries committee, added: “The government is lowering its flag, whereas it had promised retaliatory measures.”
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Speaking to France Inter Radio, Ms Girardin also hit out at Jersey for being uncooperative.
Speaking at a fisheries conference held in Saint-Pol-de-Léon, she said: “It is definitely obvious that Jersey does not respect the Brexit agreement, worse, it shows a lack of willingness to cooperate with us.”
She claimed 46 licence requests were unanswered and a further 52 licences had expired on 31 October, including 13 priority ones
Previously, France had threatened sanctions, including increased checks on British fishing boats and trucks and tariffs on electricity to the Channel Islands.
The row is centred around France’s claim that the UK has broken the December 2020 Brexit agreement by not granting enough licenses to French fishermen.
The licences would grant French fishermen permission to fish in British territorial waters six to 12 nautical miles off Britain’s shores, as well as in the sea off Jersey.
France has said it is still awaiting 150 licenses – in violation of the Brexit agreement – but Britain contends that it has granted 98 percent of applications from EU vessels.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
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