The tension is growing.
More than fifty French fishing boats gathered this Thursday morning in front of Saint-Hélier, the capital of the Anglo-Norman island of Jersey, to protest against the fishing conditions imposed on French sailors after Brexit.
Some are even blocking the port and other ships were still on their way around 9 a.m., according to an AFP photographer who boarded a Norman boat.
"Boats have left from everywhere, from Brittany (west), from Normandy (north-west)", explained Romain Davodet, fisherman from Carteret, in Normandy. "It's even incredible to have succeeded in bringing all these people together," said Camille Lécureuil, who also came from Carteret, referring to "at least 70 boats". “A freighter, the Commodore Goodwill, wants to go out and everyone seems determined to prevent it from going out. The fishermen engage at the entrance to the port. It is a peaceful movement, there is no need for it to degenerate ”, he described, indicating that the fishermen were to return to France at the beginning of the afternoon. “We have backers from Jersey. Three fishing boats from Jersey came to support us, ”added the sailor.
War for the crew of the Laurent peninsula, Michel and Thomas who “block” commodore goodwill #Jersey ☠️ pic.twitter.com/CqV5E2Zfeu
- Marie Carof-Gadel (@mcarofgad) May 6, 2021
On Wednesday, the president of the regional fisheries committee of Normandy, Dimitri Rogoff, assured that it was not a question of blocking Saint-Hélier but of "marking the occasion".
“There is no question of attacking […] The goal of the game is to show oneself, to show that the fishermen are determined, to support what has been demanded and then the words of the Minister too, quite virulent comments anyway, ”he declared.
British patrol vessels
The day before, the French Minister of the Sea, Annick Girardin, had affirmed that France was ready to resort to "retaliatory measures" if the British authorities continued to restrict the access of French fishermen to Jersey waters.
Before the National Assembly, she alluded to possible repercussions on the "transmission of electricity by submarine cable" which supplies the island from France.
Read also Post-Brexit fishing agreement: "Jersey's new requirements are unacceptable" says Annick Girardin
In response, the British government announced the dispatch of two patrol ships "as a precaution", and took advantage of a call with the Minister of the island, John le Fondré, to reiterate its "unwavering support for Jersey".
BREAKING: The UK is sending two Royal Navy boats to Jersey "as a precaution" after threats of a French blockade of the island's main port.
Read more here: https://t.co/hZ3oIR4e2Y pic.twitter.com/LQv1BEz52V
- Sky News (@SkyNews) May 5, 2021
According to Paris, the United Kingdom on Friday published a list of 41 French vessels, out of 344 requests, authorized to fish in Jersey waters, but this list is accompanied by new requirements "which have not been concerted, discussed or notified before ”as part of the Brexit agreement between London and Brussels, in force since January 1.