Permits which relate to ‘extent and nature’ – the type and amount of fishing activity that an EU fishing vessel undertakes in Guernsey and Jersey waters – will take effect on Wednesday 1 February 2023.
This new arrangement will allow a stable and predictable fishing relationship with regional partners.
Both the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Government of Jersey will implement in full the fisheries provisions dealing with specific access arrangements for Bailiwick and Jersey waters in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (‘the TCA’).
The new licence conditions set out the type and amount of fishing that can be carried out by EU vessels which hold fishing licences for Bailiwick and Jersey waters (referred to as ‘extent and nature’ conditions). This will bring into effect controls on EU fishing activity to further implement the TCA provision, maintaining effort at the level that reflects the activity in the years just before the UK left the EU.
This arrangement will allow a stable and predictable fishing relationship with regional partners, securing trade and ongoing cooperation for the years to come.
For the Bailiwick of Guernsey, fishing licences for 41 EU vessels, registered in either Normandy or Brittany, have already been issued under the TCA, and these took effect on 1 February 2022. At that time the licences set out which vessels could access certain areas of Bailiwick waters, but did not stipulate the type and amount of fishing activity that could be undertaken by those vessels, as long as the activity complied with any limitations placed on vessels by their national or regional competent authorities.
For Jersey, the permits will be attached to the 136 permanent licences which the Government of Jersey has issued to EU vessels when those licences are renewed on 1 February 2023. Relevant stakeholders have been informed in advance, including the regional fishing bodies in Normandy and Brittany and the Jersey Fishermen’s Association.
Under the ‘extent and nature’ conditions which will apply from tomorrow (1 February 2023), licensed EU vessels will be able to fish using the same gear types for the same overall level of effort as has been evidenced from past fishing activity during the track record period.
Updated licences, including these new conditions, are being issued to licensed EU vessels today. These licences will be valid for two years, from 1 February 2023 until 31 January 2025, following which they will be automatically renewed.
Guernsey Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, external relations lead for the Policy & Resources Committee said: “Over the past two years a significant amount of work has been carried out to fully implement the Bailiwick’s obligations under the TCA. The ‘extent and nature’ and replacement vessel policies which take effect on 1 February represent the final step in that process of implementation. We greatly value our good relationships with Normandy, Brittany, La Manche and Ille et Vilaine and I hope that today’s announcement provides welcome certainty and stability in this new era of the TCA.
“We look forward to continuing to work with our regional partners on other important strategic projects of mutual interest, including greater cooperation in the supply of electricity through new submarine cables and delimitation of our maritime boundaries.”
Deputy Neil Inder, Guernsey’s President of the Committee for Economic Development said: “It is important that we maintain a stable and predictable economic relationship for the fishing industry in and around the Bailiwick. The work that has been carried out in developing the new “extent and nature” and replacement vessel policies will provide certainty for everyone as to how the new regime will operate, and I would like to express my thanks to officers who have worked hard to reach this conclusion. We will continue to work closely with our neighbours as these new policies come into force and we now look forward to working with our neighbours on resuming access to the port of Diélette, so that Bailiwick fishermen can once again land their catch safely and conveniently there, at the earliest possible opportunity.”
Jersey’s Minister for Environment, Deputy Jonathan Renouf, said: “These permits are designed to implement the access provisions in the TCA, ensuring that our EU colleagues who have a track-record of fishing in Jersey waters, can continue to do so. The permits will also contribute to the sustainable management of fishing activity in our waters.
“The amendments that I have brought to the Assembly to enable replacement vessels to be licenced will support the implementation of Jersey’s obligations under the TCA by enabling EU vessels to be replaced, but also ensure the Government control the size and power of their replacements.
“Throughout this process we have shown good faith and an understanding of the concerns of the fishing communities in both Normandy and Brittany. As we move past 1 February, we will continue to show any necessary flexibility in the practical implementation of these permits.
“The implementation and monitoring of permits for all vessels fishing in Jersey waters is of critical importance to our marine environment and the preservation of our fish stocks.
“Support will also be provided to our local fishing fleet, as per the announcement of the Maritime Sector Support Scheme by the Minister for Economic Development earlier this month. This will provide £300,000 to our fishing and associated industries to manage rising costs in fuel and staffing, increased safety requirements, as well as longer-term business investment”.
Jersey’s Minister for External Relations, Deputy Philip Ozouf, said: “I am encouraged that we are beginning to reach a point where the fishing communities in Jersey and France can begin to look to the future, where fishing is undertaken in an economically and environmentally stable manner.
“As a government we are committed to working closely with our French colleagues on maritime matters, which is of great economic and cultural importance to us both. The recent relaxation of port opening times in France is a perfect example of this cooperation and mutual understanding in practice. There are other issues which we are in discussions with the French authorities on, to further improve the viability and sustainability of both Jersey and French fishers.
“We share strong, historic links with our French cousins, and I am confident that these relations will deepen and develop in the months and years ahead”.