PARIS: France has suggested it could cut power supplies to the British Channel Island of Jersey if its fishermen are not granted full access to UK fishing waters under the post-Brexit trading terms.
Seas Minister Annick Girardin said she was “disgusted” to learn that Jersey had issued 41 licenses with unilaterally imposed conditions, including the time French fishing vessels could spend in its waters.
“In the (Brexit) deal there are retaliatory measures. Well, we’re ready to use them,” Girardin told France’s National Assembly on Tuesday.
“Regarding Jersey, I remind you of the delivery of electricity along underwater cables ... Even if it would be regrettable if we had to do it, we’ll do it if we have to.”
With a population of 108,000, Jersey imports 95 percent of its electricity from France, with diesel generators and gas turbines providing backup, according to energy news agency S&P Global Platts.
Jersey’s government said that France and the EU had expressed their unhappiness with the conditions placed on the issuance of fishing licenses. Jersey’s External Relations Minister Ian Gorst said the island had issued permits in accordance with the post-Brexit trade terms, and that they stipulated any new license must reflect how much time a vessel spent in Jersey’s waters before Brexit.
The rocky island sits just 14 miles (23 km) off the northern French coast and 85 miles (137 km) south of Britain’s shores. The French threat is the latest flare up over fishing rights between the two countries.
Last month, French trawlermen angered by delays to licenses to fish inside British waters blocked lorries carrying UK-landed fish with burning barricades as they arrived in Boulogne-sur-Mer, Europe’s largest seafood processing center.