Fresh Brexit Fish Spat Averted as Jersey Extends French Amnesty

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A fresh spat over post-Brexit fishing rights has been put on hold after the British isle of Jersey extended a transition period for French vessels, allowing them to fish in its waters for an extra three months.

The move averts the prospect of another potential escalation between the U.K. and France after the two NATO allies sent naval warships to the island back in May. French boats were due to face extra licensing requirements from July 1. This deadline has been pushed back to October.

“We are offering this extension to the amnesty period to allow the continuation of discussions,” Ian Gorst, Jersey’s minister for external relations, said in a statement. “The relationship with France is hugely important to Jersey in so many ways.”

French fishermen had threatened to blockade Jersey if their rights to fish around the island were curtailed post-Brexit. The French government also threatened to cut off electricity supplies to the island if licenses weren’t given to French boats.

Negotiations over fish were one of the most contentious elements of the post-Brexit accord, and France has separately threatened to limit access for U.K. financial services companies into the European Union if its trawlers aren’t treated fairly.

Jersey is a self-governing British crown dependency 14 miles (22 kilometers) from the French coast, which makes its own laws and raises its own taxes, but relies on the U.K. government for defense.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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