Brexit: Jersey to take full control of its fishing grounds

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The move is set to mark the end of the Bay of Granville Treaty, under which Jersey and French authorities jointly managed commercial access to the Island’s fishing grounds that are used by vessels from both jurisdictions.

Following the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December, Jersey will have the sole power to issue licences to both local and EU boats on a ‘non-discriminatory’ basis, in line with the new agreement.

Environment Minister John Young said that he hopes to use the new regime to ensure better conservation of stocks in the Island’s waters, and suggested larger boats could be banned.

French vessels with historical fishing activity in Jersey waters will continue to have access.

States Members voted unanimously in favour of Jersey joining the newly published Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between the EU and UK, which sets out their post-Brexit trading relationship.

Jersey will retain tariff-free trade in goods with the EU due to the move.

Outlining the Council of Ministers’ proposition calling for Jersey to sign up, External Relations Minister Ian Gorst said that the Island needed to do so before the deal is presented to the UK parliament for approval.

‘This agreement will come into force initially on the basis of provisional implementation on 1 January 2021,’ he said.

‘Crucially for Jersey and its fellow Crown Dependencies, the UK intends to ratify the agreement before the new year. This means that we must also provide our bailiwick’s decision to the UK before the new year.

‘It is of fundamental, constitutional importance that Jersey’s position is made clear before the UK parliament is formally provided with the text of the agreement and begins its debate.’

Jersey will retain the option to later withdraw from the accord within 90 days of it coming into effect, thanks to a ‘cooling off clause’. This is intended to give more time to scrutinise the 2,000 page agreement and assess if it works in Jersey’s interests. The Island will also have the option of a three-year termination clause, should it wish to pull out.

The UK and EU reached the agreement on Christmas Eve, bringing to an end fears of a no deal exit.

A key sticking point in negotiations was fisheries, with new arrangements outlining that 25% of EU boats’ fishing rights in British waters will be transferred to the UK fleet, over the next five-and-a-half years.

Full report in Tuesday’s JEP.

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