Baroness Hoey says 'bring it on' to French fishing war
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Baroness Hoey appeared on TalkRADIO where she discussed the UK refusing a large portion of French vessels from operating in UK territorial waters. The UK Government announced it would grant 12 out of 47 applications for new licences from the European Union with Jersey refusing 75 licences to French boats. Baroness Hoey welcomed angry French fishers calling the situation a new “fishing war” and said for too long they had operated and ruined UK waters.
The UK Government said it pursued a “reasonable approach” where it issued nearly 1,700 licences to EU boats to operate in Britain’s exclusive economic zone.
This area is defined as 12-200 miles from the UK coast with 117 licences being approved for the 6-12 mile zone.
In the latest batch of 47 applications, nearly 75 percent were rejected, with just 12 licenses provided.
According to French newspaper Le Monde, Annick Girardin, the French sea minister, said Britain had taken French fishing “hostage”.
Speaking on TalkRADIO about the fallout, Baroness Hoey welcomed the news and was not scared of France.
She told the programme: “I say bring it on, I mean, you know our fish, our fishing industry has suffered for years and years and years.
“By those boats from France and other countries that have been ruining our waters and taking our fish.
“I think the fishing deal we got wasn’t good enough but let’s not make it even worse.
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“So I think the Government’s quite right, let’s take them all on this and make it clear that we’re not going to just simply allow them to come in and take extra from what they’re even being allowed to at the moment.
“Yeah and I think the fishing industry and those people who support fishing and that industry will expect the government now to stand up for them and use our naval might if we have to.”
In May, French fishermen staged a protest at the port of St Helier, blockading the Jersey inlet with 60 boats.
The protest, directed against post-Brexit fishing rights, ended peacefully but caused 12 hours of drama.
British authorities launched navy patrols for “assistance”, and France threatened Jersey’s power supply.
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President of the Jersey Fishing Association, Don Thompson, told Express.co.uk about the situation in Jersey and explained what the relationship was like between them and their French counterparts.
The fishing boss suggested France and Jersey could use mutual licence agreements to calm nerves between fishers in an attempt to make the situation more equal and fair for those involved.
He explained: “Even before Brexit, even before that deadline date, French fishermen were threatening to use force as they just never had anything else to trade for fishing rights in UK waters.
“That was all they had to resort to, it should always be fish for fish if French fishermen wanted to fish in our waters or in UK waters.
“It should have been that they offered access in return, and rather, what’s happened has been the threat of action of burning boats and whatever else they might want to do.”
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