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Authorising French Fishing in Bailiwick waters in the Brexit Transition Period has begun

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Wednesday 05 February 2020

The Committee for Economic Development is pleased to confirm that it has started to issue authorisations to allow continuity of access to Bailiwick waters for French fishing vessels in the 2020 Brexit Transition Period.

The authorisation regime in place is a system for issuing individual authorisation documents to French vessels who wish to continue to be able to fish in Bailiwick waters during 2020, on an interim basis. This has been done following requests for our assistance from the French Government in response to the UK's exit from the EU. The interim basis of this arrangement ensures that this will not prejudice our future relationship or create any new rights for French vessels.

Application forms and explanatory information for vessels registered in France who wish to fish in Bailiwick waters are now available on the www.gov.gg website in both English and French. This application process is being offered free of charge.

The forms have also been supplied to the French authorities to help speed up the process. Staff are already dealing with applications from vessels from Normandy and Brittany and 13 have been issued already.

A meeting was held on the evening on Tuesday 4th February to brief the local fishing industry of these arrangements and to assure them that work was being handled as quickly as possible to assist the local industry getting their products back into their important French markets.

Deputy Neil Inder, Member of the Committee for Economic Development commented:

"I was pleased to chair the meeting last night with fishermen, at which we were able to give them a full and open briefing on the current situation and what is being done to overcome the problems many of them are having landing their catches in France. I felt that the meeting was positive and that fishermen left the meeting fully understanding the situation.

The authorisation process that the Committee has introduced will provide a period of stability in access arrangements for those French vessels that have fished in Bailiwick waters in the past under the rules of the London Fisheries Convention, which ended on 31 January 2020. This new regime is for 2020 only and, since it is temporary and does not any create new rights for French vessels in Guernsey waters, it is without prejudice to our future partnership."

Deputy Lyndon Trott, Vice-President of the Policy & Resources Committee commented:

"In view of continued misleading comments in some media that the Bailiwick of Guernsey has "banned" French fishing vessels from its waters, I would like to make clear that the opposite is the case. There has also been disruptive and intimidating behaviour shown by some French fishermen while this issue is being actively resolved good faith. This does not reflect the good relationship between our jurisdictions."

The Bailiwick of Guernsey has put in place a temporary individual fishing vessel authorisation regime to ensure continuity of fishing access for French vessels during 2020 in line with the intentions of the UK's Transition Period arrangements following the its EU exit .

We have not introduced the authorisation regime for our own reasons, but because it is a requirement under EU law for Member State vessels fishing in third country waters and assisting in this way is an indication of the importance that we attach to a continued cordial and constructive relationship with Normandy and France, as our closest neighbour, following the UK's exit from the EU."

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