(LONDON) Fishing Rights Report: The UK could respond in turn if France goes ahead with threats amid a dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights, the environment secretary has said, warning that “two can play at that game” #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Oct.30: Boris Johnson will have a “brush by” meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in the the G20 summit in Rome this weekend, the prime minister’s spokesman said: He added that France remained a “close and strong ally” to the UK.

#AceDailyNews says according to BBC News Katie Wright Fishing row has escalated after its reported that U.K. A British trawler has been seized by France and another has been fined, amid an escalating row over post-Brexit fishing rights..

France said it could stop UK boats landing in its ports if the row over licences was not resolved by Tuesday: George Eustice said the language used by French officials was “inflammatory” after authorities say the detained Cornelis Gert Jan vessel did not have a licence – a claim denied by the boat’s owner Macduff Shellfish of Scotland. But the European Union said the UK authorities withdrew the licence on 1 March.

He said he was raising the issue with the European Commission, while France’s ambassador has been summoned by the UK.

A British trawler was seized by France and another fined during checks off Le Havre on Thursday.

The captain of the scallop dredger will face a court hearing in August next year, French authorities said on Friday.

BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley said No 10 sources were “amazed and concerned” at the escalating fishing row, describing the developments in recent days as “extraordinary”.

Ministers met on Thursday to discuss the situation and are understood to be considering a “range of options” to retaliate.

France was angered by a decision from the UK and Jersey last month to deny fishing licences to dozens of French boats to access British waters, and argued that this breached the Brexit deal.

The country has warned it would block British boats from landing their catches in some French ports next week and tighten checks on UK boats and trucks if the dispute over fishing licences was not resolved by 2 November.

France has also warned it could cut electricity supplies to Jersey, a British Crown dependency, as it previously threatened in May.

Mr Eustice told the BBC only a “small number of vessels” did not qualify for licences “because they have never accessed Jersey waters before”.

He said the UK had an “ever open door” and the government would wait to see what decision is made by Tuesday, after which the UK “reserve the right to respond in a proportionate way”.

Asked about the claim by France’s Europe minister, Clément Beaune, that the only language Britain understands is “the language of force”, Mr Eustice said: “That is completely inflammatory and is the wrong way to go about things.”

He added: “For now, we’re not going to respond in the way that France has, we’re going to raise this with the commission and we’re going to raise it through diplomatic channels with the French ambassador but we’ll reserve our right to do more things if France continue to press ahead with these threats.”

The environment secretary suggested France was politicising the process of checking vessels. “There obviously is an election coming up in France, it may be that is a factor in this,” he said.

Mr Eustice said the detained trawler had been granted a licence at the beginning of the year and the government was “trying to get to the bottom” of why it had subsequently been taken off the list given to the European Union. 

He said the boat may have made some changes to its engine which meant the licence had to be renewed. 

Andrew Brown, from the boat’s owners Macduff Shellfish, said: “We don’t know where the error of interpretation of the licence lies, that will take some time to fix.

“But I would believe that under normal circumstances a misunderstanding like this could be sorted out with a phone call.”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss asked Europe minister Wendy Morton to call France’s ambassador to the UK, Catherine Colonna, for talks later on Friday.

A calibrated response

By summoning the French ambassador, the government is expressing its significant concern over the fishing dispute in a very public way. 

This is not something allies do very often and this form of diplomatic dressing down is normally reserved for governments with whom the UK has a less amicable relationship, such as China or Iran. 

But equally, this is also a calibrated response by the Foreign Office – the ambassador is meeting only a junior minister. 

It would have been a greater escalation if Foreign Secretary Liz Truss had chosen to see the ambassador, Catherine Colonna, herself. 

And as diplomatic contretemps go, this is quite measured in comparison to a recent dispute over nuclear submarines when France actually recalled its ambassadors from Australia and the United States.

Read more from James here.

Stéphanie Yon-Courtin, a French MEP and member of the EU Fisheries Committee, accused the UK government and Channel Islands authorities of not respecting the trade agreement they signed with the EU, saying it was “up to the UK government to de-escalate the situation”.

“We don’t want escalation,” she said. “We do want to ease things. I feel really sorry for our fishermen, for the British fishermen as well… because we’ve got a very long history of friendship and I really would like to keep this as it has been.”

Under the Brexit deal, it was agreed that licences would be given to vessels that could show they had fished in each other’s waters for years, although there have been disputes about how much evidence is needed.

The UK maintains the rejected applications that sparked the row did not have enough supporting evidence to show the boats had a history of fishing in Britain’s or Jersey’s waters.

A meeting with officials from France, Jersey, the UK and European Commission on Wednesday led to 162 French boats being given licences to fish in Jersey’s waters from Friday.

The government of Jersey said it was “extremely disappointed” by the latest threats of sanctions by France. French trawlers previously protested outside the port of St Helier on the island.

Cornelis Gert Jan
The Cornelis Gert Jan, which is owned by MacDuff Shellfish of Scotland, was detained when fishing in French waters

UK boat detained by France amid fishing rights row: By Mary O’Connor of BBC News

French maritime minister Annick Girardin said the ships were cautioned during checks off Le Havre overnight.

She said the first did not comply right away and the second was not allowed to fish in French waters so was detained.

No 10 said it was watching events closely and wanted France and EU talks but was ready to respond appropriately.

Earlier, the environment secretary said he was “urgently” investigating the situation in relation to the detained vessel – which has been named as the Cornelis Gert Jan.

Responding to an Urgent Commons Question from the SNP, George Eustice said the boat was on a list provided by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) initially provided to the European Union.

He insisted the European Union did grant a licence to the vessel but it was “unclear” why, according to reports, it was subsequently withdrawn from the list.

Mr Eustice said he was awaiting further details from Marine Scotland and was expecting a response in the “next hour or so”. 

Deidre Brock, the SNP’s environment spokesperson, said it was not good enough that the environment secretary had so little information.

MacDuff Shellfish of Scotland, which owns the Cornelis, said the crew of its vessel were “in good spirits” after it was “ordered into a French port while legally fishing for scallop in French waters”.

The firm’s Andrew Brown said the crew would remain on board the vessel until its release, while the captain had left the boat to be interviewed by the French authorities and had been given legal representation.

He said Macduff’s “fishing activity [was] entirely legal” and it appeared the Cornelis, based at Shoreham, in West Sussex, had been “caught up” in the ongoing UK-France post-Brexit fishing row.Watch: British trawler Cornelis Gert Jan is held in Le Havre.

Mr Brown warned that without “a speedy resolution”, the vessel’s catch could be confiscated by the French authorities, and called on the UK government to “defend the rights of the UK fishing fleet”.

The firm will “vigorously defend” itself any claims, but its “priority concern” was for the welfare of the vessel’s crew.

Ms Girardin had said on Twitter that the trawler was found to be fishing in the Bay of Seine without the proper licences.

The minister said checks on the British vessels were standard during the scallop fishing season. 

But she added they had also been undertaken against “the backdrop of the tightening of controls in the Channel, in the context of discussions on licenses with the United Kingdom and the European Commission”.

A shot across the bows 

In naval parlance, this is called a shot across the bows.

Technically, the French checks on UK trawlers in the Channel overnight do not form part of the raft of retaliatory measures announced in the fishing row. 

But there should be no doubt they are intended as a message about what is to come.

From Tuesday, British and Channel Islands fishing boats will not be allowed to offload their catch at French ports. 

But that is the least of it. Only 5% of UK seafood exports to France arrive in this way. The rest comes by freight.

Potentially far more disruptive will be intensified controls at Calais and other entry points for UK trade by ferry and tunnel. 

The French authorities will be conducting what they call a “grève de zèle” – in other words becoming suddenly punctilious, thorough and on the look out for infractions. 

And it is not just fish imports which will be checked, but everything. 

The aim will be to create long tail-backs which will play on the news channels – reminding UK viewers of the costs of go-it-alone. 

France had warned that it would block British boats from some ports next week – as well as tightening checks on UK boats and trucks – if a post-Brexit dispute over fishing licences was not resolved by 2 November.

On Wednesday evening, it issued its ultimatum, saying it would begin to impose “targeted measures” from next Tuesday, including preventing British fishing boats from disembarking at ports and more checks on UK goods.

France has also warned it could cut electricity supplies to Jersey, a British Crown dependency, as it previously threatened in May.

Mr Eustice said threats of sanctions made by France were “disappointing and disproportionate” and appeared to breach the post-Brexit deal and international law.

He appealed to MPs to “remain calm”, saying that UK would not get into a “retaliatory tit-for-tat” but warned of a possible “appropriate and calibrated response” if France carried out its threats.George Eustice says France’s response has been “disappointing and disproportionate”

Mr Eustice rejected French claims that the process for applying for fishing licences had been slow and difficult, saying officials had granted 98% of post-Brexit licence applications from European boats to fish in UK waters.

He said more were expected to be granted following “constructive” talks with the European Commission and that he had told the French and the Commission that the UK’s “door remains ever open”.

French politician and member of President Macron’s En Marche party, Bruno Boller, told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme that French fishermen are “losing 25% of their business because of regulation”.

He said “in the Brexit treaty we were not supposed to reach this point of tension” and disagreed with the licencing figures quoted by Mr Eustice, saying 200 licences had been granted.

Mr Boller argued French authorities “have ways to retaliate if you push too hard” and he “would not be surprised if by next week we see significant advances” in discussions.

The UK maintains the rejected applications which sparked the row did not have enough supporting evidence to show they had a history of fishing in Britain’s or Jersey’s waters.

A meeting with officials from France, Jersey, the UK and European Commission, on Wednesday led to 162 French boats being given licences to fish in Jersey’s waters from Friday.

The government of Jersey said it was “extremely disappointed” by the latest threats of sanctions by France. French trawlers previously protested outside the port of St Helier on the island.

Labour’s shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard said the tensions were a result of the government losing control of negotiations and there was real concern “the botched Brexit deal” was going to lead to more clashes.

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(LONDON) JUST IN: Two Royal Navy vessels are patrolling waters around Jersey as about 60 French and Jersey boats protest over post-Brexit fishing rights #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.06: France has threatened to cut off electricity to the island: No 10 said it sent the two Navy vessels to “monitor the situation”.

LONDON: PM Boris Johnson sends two UK Royal Navy ships to patrol Jersey amid fishing row with France: French fishermen, who have gathered at the island’s main St Helier port, say their rights are unfairly restricted by licences issued by the island under a system launched last week as Jersey officials say that they were agreed under the deal and French officials say they will cut off electricity and food supplies to the island’ Live updates: Latest on protest in St Helier

23 minutes ago

By George Bowden & Emma Harrison
BBC News

French fishing boats at the port of St Helier
About 60 French and Jersey boats are at the entrance to the island’s main port of St Helier

HMS Severn, which has previously been used to shadow Russian navy warships off the English coast, and HMS Tamar, arrived on Thursday morning.

The ships are routinely used for fisheries protection – with sailors able to board other boats for spot checks.

The new fishing rules – introduced by the Jersey government under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) – require French boats to show they have a history of fishing in Jersey’s waters. But it has been claimed additional requirements were added without notice so who really owns UK fishing rights?

French authorities say “new technical measures” had not been communicated to the EU, rendering them “null and void”.

The fishing boats are at the entrance to the island’s main port of St Helier, but they pulled away earlier to allow a freight vessel to leave. 

HMS Severn can be seen from the port, sitting off about a mile from the French boats and is maintaining a presence and not making any effort to intervene.

At the scene: ‘Red flares burning bright’

By Freddie Miller, BBC Jersey political reporter

In the darkness you could see the lights from boats slowly making their way from the direction of France towards Jersey. They then all gathered outside the St Helier harbour and they stayed there for about half an hour.

At about 06:30 BST they started making their way slowly into the harbour. Flares were set off – red flares, orange flares, burning bright. French flags were being flown, there were banners talking about fishing obviously in French.

Meanwhile, on the pier-side where I am, islanders had gathered – probably about 30 in total, including a couple of police officers. Jersey flags had been hung to the railings of the pier, some were waving flags.

There were also some Jersey boats in support of the French, flying both French and Jersey flags, and also a couple that were there trying to stop the French from coming into the harbour.

Amidst all of this you’ve got the two Navy vessels in the distance – you can just see the outline shadow of them through the mist, just keeping watch of everything.”

MEP Stephanie Yon-Courtin, a member of the EU fisheries committee, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme they were “taken by surprise” by new fishing rules, adding: “We are counting on the good faith from Jersey and the UK government to help and deescalate the tension.”

Of the threats to cut off electricity to Jersey, she said “these are only words we are not ready for war”, but she added “all retaliatory measures will be explored”.

On Wednesday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged his “unwavering support” for Jersey, the largest Channel Island and a Crown dependency, located 14 miles (22km) off France and “any blockade” would be “completely unjustified”. 

HMS Severn is one of the two offshore patrol vessels monitoring Jersey waters

At the scene: ‘More shock than anger’

Their boats were draped with makeshift banners – which read “en colère”- we are angry, writes BBC Europe correspondent Jean Mackenzie, who was with the fishermen as they set off from the French coast.

A handful left this small port on the Normandy coast about 02:30, to be joined by dozens more on the way to Jersey. The fishermen seemed more shocked than angry, that their access to waters they have fished in for decades is being challenged.

What does the Brexit trade deal mean for fishing? Under the post-Brexit trade deal, Jersey has to allow European vessels into its waters, but they now need licences – but the fishermen say the permits have come with a long list of restrictions that were never agreed.

Reacting to the French maritime minister’s threat to cut off Jersey’s electricity in retaliation – the fishermen were pleased.

“It’s good to know our country is on our side,” they said

Mr Johnson held talks with Jersey’s Chief Minister John Le Fondré and Minister of External Affairs Ian Gorst, and “stressed the urgent need for a de-escalation in tensions” between Jersey and France.

Senator Gorst told the BBC the French threats were “disproportionate” but he was expecting a “peaceful demonstration” by fisherman on Thursday morning. 

A statement from the Jersey government read: “Diplomatic efforts will continue to resolve the outstanding issues relating to fishing licences and to de-escalate the situation.”

Dimitri Rogoff, head of fisheries for the Normandy region, said the boats would not try to block St Helier and would return to France in the afternoon, AFP reported.

What is the Jersey fishing row about?

French fishermen have complained about being prevented from operating in British waters because of difficulties in obtaining licences. 

Under an agreement with the EU, French boat operators must show a history of fishing in the area to receive a licence for Jersey’s waters. But it has been claimed additional requirements were added without notice.

Jersey has the sole power to issue the licences, and as of last week all fishing boats were required to have a licence to operate there.

On Friday, the Jersey government granted 41 permits to French fishing vessels that are equipped with technology that allows them to be located.

But the French government claimed the list of approved ships came with further demands that “were not arranged or discussed, and which we were not notified about”.

Chris Le Masurier, who runs Jersey Oyster and Normandy Trader Freight, said the French fisherman were rightly upset by the situation.

He said: “I see it as very much an insult to them and they are extremely upset. The criteria that they were given was to prove they have fished in Jersey waters for 10 days. Nothing about what species were caught, nothing about if you’ve fished for 20 days or 30 days [and having to] prove that.” 

But Don Thompson, from the Jersey Fisherman’s Association, said affected French crews have “had since 1 January” to comply with the new rules and “perhaps some of the boats that perhaps didn’t qualify are a little bit put-out”.

The threat to cut off Jersey’s electricity supply – 95% of which is delivered by three underwater cables from France – was made by French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin on Tuesday.

HMS Severn and HMS Tamar are based in Portsmouth. They are both 90.5m in length, have two large guns, including a short-range anti-aircraft weapon, and are crewed by 45 sailors and up to 50 Royal Marines.

Additional reporting by Robert Hall, BBC News

#AceNewsDesk report …..Published: May.06: 2021:

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#fishing, #france, #jersey, #london

(LONDON) GOVUK Statement Report: The UK on 16 March 2021 reached agreement with Norway and the European Union on catch limits in 2021 for six jointly-managed fish stocks in the North Sea #AceNewsDesk report

‘GOVUK agrees fishing catch limits with EU and Norway: The UK, Norway and the European Union have today signed a trilateral agreement on catch limits in 2021’

The agreement promotes the sustainable management and long-term viability of cod, haddock, plaice, whiting, herring, and saithe stocks in the North Sea. The catch levels agreed for 2021 are worth over £184 million to the UK fishing industry.

This is the first time the UK has participated in the talks as an independent coastal State. Throughout negotiations the UK has pressed for catch limits – known as total allowable catches – to be set sustainably to ensure the long-term future of the fisheries industry.

Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis said:

Today we successfully concluded the first trilateral fisheries negotiations between the UK, EU and Norway.

As an independent coastal state we are committed to managing our fisheries sustainably, to the benefit of the fishing industry across the UK and our marine environment, now and in the years to come.

UK Government Minister for Scotland David Duguid said:

For the first time in decades we have concluded our first trilateral negotiations with the EU and Norway as an independent coastal state.

The outcome represents an increase in the total allowable catch of certain key stocks for Scotland – such as Haddock and Whiting.

Agreements have also been made which safeguard the long-term viability of some other key stocks such as cod.

We remain committed to supporting the industry and being a champion for our coastal communities on the world stage.

Of the stocks jointly-managed with the EU and Norway, five out of six have been set in line with or lower than the catch level advised by ICES, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. This results in catch reductions for North Sea cod (-10%), plaice (-2%), saithe (-25%) and herring (-7.4%) compared with 2020, but increases in haddock (+20%) and whiting (+19%).

The agreed catch limit for haddock is well within the sustainable limits advised by the scientific body ICES. This will encourage the recovery of other key stocks in the North Sea mixed fishery.

North Sea cod will be subject to a slightly smaller reduction than the -16.5% recommended by ICES. The three parties supported this approach as it would allow the stock to recover at a similar pace to that set out in the scientific advice. Furthermore, the catch limit is accompanied by the UK’s ongoing cod avoidance plan which applies to all vessels in UK waters. The plan establishes measures to support the long-term recovery of the stock in UK waters, these include ‘real-time closures’ to protect high abundances of cod and selective fishing gear.

The UK Government has worked closely throughout the negotiations with the Scottish Government and other administrations to reach this consensus.

This trilateral agreement marks the conclusion of the first in a series of annual fisheries negotiations. Bilateral negotiations are underway with the EU, Faroes Islands and Norway to confirm access arrangements and quota exchanges, where applicable.

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Mar.18: 2021:

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#agreement, #european-union, #fishing, #food, #govuk, #norway

Fisherman nets 4,000-year-old pagan figurine

Nikolay Tarasov pulls Bronze Age artifact, carved in bone and said to be worth more than its weight in gold, from Siberian river

A fisherman dragging a net through a river in Siberia thought he had snagged a rock. Instead he had snared what experts believe is a 4,000-year-old pagan figurine of pagan-statuette1a god. Nikolay Tarasov, 53, considered throwing the 12-inch statuette back, until he wiped away the muck and saw that a ferocious-looking face had been carved into the artifact. “I pulled it in by getting my pal to help and I was going to chuck it away,” he told the Siberian Times. “But then I stopped when I saw it was a stone with a face. I washed the thing in the river—and realized it was a statuette.” On the back of the figurine, snagged in the community of Tisul, was what looked like hair, carved behind the head. Tarasov was told that the relic could be worth its weight in gold, but decided to donate his rare catch to a local museum, free of charge. “Experts there quite literally jumped for joy, and quite high!” he said. It was later determined, with the help of experts, that the statuette had been carved in horn, probably during the Bronze Age. Marina Banschikova, director of the Tisul History Museum, said experts are still studying the relic but are reasonably sure that the figurine represents a pagan god and belonged to the Okunev or Samus culture. “The only things we have dated approximately to the same age are a stone necklace and two charms in the shapes of a bear and a bird,” Banschikova said. The museum director added that Tarasov did not ask for any reward, even though the artifact “is probably worth more than if it was made of gold.” Tarasov, a Siberian driver who fishes on the side, offered a simple explanation. “People should see it, and learn the history of their region. It was quite clearly precious for the museums of any country.”

Full size, 12 Inches

#artifact, #bronze-age, #fishing, #nikolay-tarasov, #pagan-god, #relic, #siberia, #siberian-river, #tarasov