Following a meeting with French fishermen, Mr Macron appointed Philippe Lambert des Granges to support those who have not been granted their fishing license in Jersey waters. Referred to in French media as “Mr Brexit Fishing”, the current administrator of maritime affairs ends his mission in the French town of Granville today, having been sent out on Monday.
Mr de Lambert des Granges was previously director of the Brexit project at the French ministries responsible for maritime activity and agriculture between 2019 and September last year.
According to the Ministry of the Sea, he will be responsible for “supporting every fisherman who has not obtained a license.”
He was appointed to the mission by Annick Girardin, the French Minister of the Sea.
According to the Normandy Regional Fisheries Committee, 13 French boats with provisional access will lose their fishing rights on January 31, 2022.
Additionally, 12 boats under 12m and 11 over 12m have already lost their access or have disappeared from the lists, and five vessels have not been able to prove their fishing history between 2017 and 2019.
That is 41 French vessels no longer able to fish in Jersey waters.
The UK and Jersey authorities have said the vessels have already turned down had failed to provide evidence of operating in the relevant waters.
Before Brexit, French fishermen were allowed to fish freely inside British waters.
But under the post-Brexit trade and cooperation agreement in 2020, smaller fishing vessels have to prove they were already fishing in certain areas before Brexit in order to be granted a license.
France has been trying to convince the EU to take a stronger stance against the UK, believing that the UK is acting in breach of its obligations over fishing access to Channel waters.
Speaking to reporters in Brussels, European affairs minister for France Clement Beaune said Paris was “not happy with the situation” regarding the struggle over licenses for French vessels.
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He added: “Our analysis is very simple – we are not 100 percent satisfied because we don’t think the agreement has been implemented to the tune of 100 percent either.”
He threatened legal action in response.
Last year, a blackout of energy supply was threatened. Speaking to the Guardian, Mr Beaune said: “We defend our interests. We do it nicely, and diplomatically, but when that doesn’t work we take measures.
“The Channel Islands, the UK, are dependent on us for their energy supply.
“They think they can live on their own and badmouth Europe as well.”
A blackout could happen by cutting France’s energy supply to Jersey, whose energy it provides through undersea cables under a commercial contract between the French company EDF and the Jersey Electricity Company.
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According to the post-Brexit trade and cooperation agreement in 2020, in case of a dispute with Jersey the EU can take unilateral measures “proportionate to the alleged failure by the respondent party and the economic and societal impact thereof”.
The dispute over Channel waters has been exacerbated by Mr Macron’s accusation that Britain was to blame for migrant deaths in the English Channel last week.
He argued that current rules encourage illegal migration and do not allow for asylum seekers to seek lawful ways into the country, pushing migrants to attempt the treacherous crossing instead.
The row between France and Britain over migration has been ongoing since the tragic sinking of a dinghy in November which led to the deaths of 27 migrants, with both countries placing the blame on the other.
It was revealed today that nearly 1,000 migrants have arrived in the UK already this year, after 168 landed in Dover yesterday.