Friday 07 February 2020
The Government of Guernsey 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 below was issued to the French media (in French) this morning. It provides further details of steps taken within the Bailiwick to issue authorisations to allow continuity of access to Bailiwick waters for French fishing vessels in the 2020 Brexit Transition Period. The media release also includes comments from French politicians welcoming the swift action taken by the States to resolve an issue that stemmed from EU, not Bailiwick, law. We have attached the French version as a download on this page also.
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. 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/fishing in both English and French. This application process is being offered free of charge.
Following the issuance of Guernsey SMEFF authorisations, the French Government will need to authorise the activity before it can commence, in accordance with EU Regulation 2017/2403 on SMEFF.
Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq,Minister for External Affairs for Guernsey, said:
"The speed at which we have worked demonstrates 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. We have aligned our process to assist French authorities with their own authorisation procedures. We welcome the restoration of normal trade, as we have been advised that the unofficial blockades of French ports have now been removed."
Hervé Morin, President of the Region of Normandy, said:
"I welcome Guernsey's implementation of an SMEFF authorisation scheme which guarantees Norman boats access to this fishing area. Guernsey has already granted authorizations to Norman fishermen and I can only rejoice in this happy outcome, a reflection of our long-standing relationships. We will obviously continue to study the development of our future partnership after the UK's exit from the EU."
Marc Lefèvre, President of the Conseil Départemental of La Manche, said:
"The quality of our working relationships with the Bailiwick of Guernsey, throughout the year, based on trust, allowed us to quickly find a solution. I welcome the return of fishermen from la Manche to the waters under the jurisdiction of Guernsey. With Jonathan le Tocq, Minister of Foreign Affairs, we worked in close collaboration to set up the SMEFF authorization scheme to help fishermen in La Manche to continue fishing in Guernsey waters, as they did before Brexit. I now wish that trade will start again in smooth conditions. However, we are fully aware that these authorizations are provisional. Norman fishermen can count on the full support of the Departmental Council of La Manche, to work alongside Dimitri Rogoff, president of the Regional Committee for Maritime Fisheries and Marine Farming in Normandy, to seek to achieve sustainable access to the waters of the Bailiwick, beyond December 31, 2020, in respect of resources, European law and especially in the same spirit of cooperation with Guernsey which led to the resumption of fishing activities, as soon as possible"