France Readying Plans in Case Talks With U.K. on Fish Fail
(Bloomberg) -- France is preparing to help fishermen who’ll have to stop working if they don’t obtain fishing licenses from the U.K., Sea Minister Annick Girardin said on Thursday.
The minister was cited by Agence-France Presse as saying that the cost to the state of buyout packages for fishermen could reach 40 to 60 million euros ($45-$68 million).
The preparations suggest the French government believes it may not get the post-Brexit fishing licenses it has long demanded from the U.K., but Girardin insisted Paris has no expectations for the negotiations to go one way or another.
“We still have to define a common methodology with the U.K.,” Girardin said in a speech to members of the French fishing industry in Brittany, according to a copy emailed by her office. “I am putting maximum pressure on the Commission and on the British to make progress on this point, even if I can tell you that it is the most sensitive subject for us and for the British.”
France expects to receive more than 40 licenses by December for fishermen working in the Channel Island of Guernsey, Girardin said. In Jersey, France has already obtained 116 definitive licenses and 46 temporary ones, which it wants to make permanent. Thirteen are outstanding, she said.
Elsewhere, in the 6 to 12 nautical miles off the British coast, France has received 104 licenses, meaning 54 are missing, including 40 for boats replacing existing ones.
Emmanuel Macron’s government recently threatened to disrupt trade flows to and from the U.K. if French vessels remain without permits.
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