Brexit fishing row: Guernsey caves on licenses as France hails major victory against UK

Brexit: France hails Guernsey decision on fishing licences

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France has claimed that its tactics against the British are “paying off” after securing a major fishing rights win. Guernsey has granted 43 licenses to French fishing vessels in a breakthrough decision that has been hailed as a victory in Paris. The decision, which also saw 15 French appreciations of licenses denied, means dozens of more French boats will be back in Guernsey waters from February.

Annick Girardin, France’s seas minister, tweeted that the licenses prove the EU and French side of the argument are winning.

She tweeted: “As the deadline fixed by the European Commission approaches, the issuance of 43 licences is excellent news for our fishermen.

“The European Commission and France have made good progress with Guernsey in the last few weeks.

“Our efforts are paying off and the work to give maximum visibility to professionals with continue.”

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The French triumph comes as post-Brexit access rights to fishing waters have seen Paris and Westminster repeatedly clash.

France24 reporter Yinka Oyetade said: “Dozens of vessels will now be allowed to fish in Guernsey’s waters as they did before Brexit.

“This may be a win for France but the battle is far from over. 111 licenses, mostly from Guernsey, are still outstanding.

“France has criticised the UK for failing to issue the permits quickly enough.”

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Brexit meant the UK withdrew from the London Fisheries Convention 1964, ending the access right for French vessels in Guernsey’s territorial waters.

The EU has given the UK and France until December 10 to resolve the issue, amid threats of Brussels retaliation against the British.

Last week French fishermen disrupted and blockaded cross-Channel traffic for several hours in protest over the stalemate.


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The tensions between the two countries have also impacted other issues, including the Northern Ireland Protocol and most recently the Channel crossings.

President Emmanuel Macron reportedly called Boris Johnson a “clown” and a “knucklehead” in private conversations last week.

According to French weekly Le Canard Enchaine, Mr Macron attacked the Prime Minister for trying to make France a “scapegoat” for Brexit, which had proved “catastrophic” for the UK.

He also publicly lashed out at his British counterpart, saying he was not acting “serious enough” after the tragic loss of 27 people in the Channel.

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