British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sent two Navy patrol ships to the Channel Island of Jersey over the conflict with France over fishing rights.
London fears French fishermen may want to block the island’s largest port in protest. France had previously threatened that the transmission of electricity from France via a submarine cable to the island could be interrupted as a “retaliatory measure”.
The French fishermen want to take action on Thursday at Saint Helier, Jersey’s main port. However, according to local authorities, the fishermen have no intention of blocking things. Johnson said on Wednesday that he is sending the two naval vessels to Jersey “as a precautionary measure”. A blockade would be “completely unjustified”, according to the prime minister.
According to the French minister Annick Girardin (Sea), the British have introduced new access conditions for French fishermen, allowing them to be active in the area for shorter periods and remove fewer water species. Girardin said that he discovered this last Friday.
The United Kingdom published a list of 41 French fishing boats that have been subject to new conditions which, according to Paris, have not been “coordinated, discussed or notified” as part of the Brexit agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union. “Completely unacceptable,” Girardin said in parliament on the matter this week. She fears that fishermen will be banned from other British waters rich in fish if France does not take action.
The island of Jersey is located more than 20 kilometres from the Normandy coast. It is not part of the UK but a British crown property.