Cancellation of submarine deal could affect fisheries dispute

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Home Secretary Gregory Guida: “The idea that a ship cannot prove where it fished is really stupid”

MP Gregory Guida made the comments yesterday as French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accused the UK, US and Australia of causing “a major breach of trust”.

Australia has since asserted that the French-built submarines “are not going to serve our strategic interests” and plans to build eight nuclear-powered submarines instead under an agreement with the United States. United and the United Kingdom.

Mr Le Drian said: “There has been a lie, there has been duplicity, there has been a major breach of trust, there has been contempt, so it’s not right between us, it’s not right. not at all, that means there is a crisis.

The rise in tensions follows a protest involving around 150 Norman fishermen, local government officials and concerned members of the public at the Norman end of one of Jersey’s submarine power cables on Saturday in the dispute in fishing rights course.

With less than ten days before the captains of European vessels must submit data to demonstrate a history of fishing in island waters to be able to continue doing so, French industry leaders say that only 70 of the 169 licenses requested the did. far been given.

Speaking of the submarine deal canceled this week, Deputy Guida said: “I think the French are quite unhappy with it, but, reading this one, I think the deal was almost inevitable.

“But it’s a bit of an insult to the French and it made them extremely angry, so it’s not going to improve our situation.

“I think it could have an impact on the whole Brexit – we have to remember that the Jersey fishery is important from a sovereignty point of view, but economically it is only a very small part. I have seen figures that say this deal could have been worth between 30 and 70 billion euros, so I’m not sure what impact 20 million euros of fishing in Jersey will have, “he said. he declares.

MP Guida added that Jersey had recently received a large amount of French boat license application data, but accused some of trying to obtain licenses for certain vessels which “had never set foot” in. Jersey waters.

In recent French media reports, some French industry representatives claimed that data from some of their smaller French vessels for the past few years was not available because they had not been fitted with a ” vessel monitoring system ”. However, MP Guida called it “silly”.

He said: “The VMS is very good because it records things electronically, but every boat has logbooks and data to prove what was captured – there are tons of documents that a boat has to. to supply. If you ask someone in Jersey if they’ve fished for ten days in any of the past three years, it would take them ten minutes to prove it. The idea that a vessel cannot prove where it fished is really ludicrous.

“We saw this data – it was sent from Paris, to the EU, to the UK and to Jersey. There are already fishing boats here that have no problem. Yes, there are a few boats that do not have the data but it is because they have never set foot here.

“We are ready to make an official announcement on the number of licenses we are issuing and that will probably happen in the next few days, but we are not very far from where we were originally in terms of which boats are operating. in our waters. “

MP Andrew Rosindell, chair of the all-party parliamentary group for the Channel Islands, also commented on the issue following the cancellation of the submarine’s contract.

In a statement, he said: “Unfortunately, the way the French have thrown their toys out of the stroller following the recent announcement that Australia will be equipped with new nuclear-powered submarines does not bode well. good for a sane and mature discussion of these issues.I hope i’m wrong.

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