France on Thursday asked the European Commission to act “firmly” to “accelerate” the implementation of the post-Brexit fisheries agreement with the United Kingdom on access to English waters.
The Minister of the Sea, Annick Girardin, and the Minister of State for European Affairs, Clement Bonn, reiterated in a joint declaration “the need for resolute and decisive action by the European Commission to ensure the full implementation of the agreement.”
They stressed in a joint statement issued late on Thursday that “a full license to access British waters must be guaranteed as soon as possible.”
More than a hundred French fishermen organized an activity Thursday evening in Boulogne-sur-Mer (north), the largest fishing port in France, to protest the “lies” of the agreement to access British waters.
The measure was intended to block trucks from the UK carrying today’s catch in front of the Veterinary and Health Plant Border Inspection Service (SIVEP), but “very few” were submitted, given that carriers were anticipating the measure, according to the Regional Committee for Fisheries.
“This night of work is a warning, and if nothing happens at the European level, we will go further,” warned Olivier Liebreiter, president of the commission.
Fishermen denounce the delay in granting licenses to access British waters, nearly three months after the fishing agreement between London and Brussels.
Under the agreement, the UK must issue fishing licenses for a 6-12 nautical mile area.
According to Leprêtre, only the United Kingdom granted licenses to British waters for 22 ships out of a total of 120.
The British authorities rejected these figures, claiming that 87 French vessels had obtained licenses for fishing.
“The UK maintains a consistent and evidence-based approach to licensing EU ships using information provided by the European Commission,” a spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said in a statement.
vl-meb / tjc