The mayor of Granville defends an accused French fisherman
Gilles Ménard deflected the blame on the Jersey government for preventing the captain of the Alizé 3 from accessing his “usual fishing grounds”. The mayor, quoted in the newspaper Ouest-France, made no reference to the protection status of the land.
In the incident, which took place Tuesday morning, Jersey fishermen spotted the trawler moving through the protected area, and fishery officers, alongside a number of local boats, came out to intercept the ship.
Those who have overheard conversations say that despite claims by officers aboard the fishery protection vessel Norman Le Brocq that he should not be working in the area, the captain remained adamant he could. The captain also said that authorities in Granville, his home port, had told him he could work there.
The incident follows the suspension of the conditions imposed on the licenses of some 40 French vessels after 70 Breton and Norman boats blocked the port.
According to Deputy Environment Minister Gregory Guida, the suspension only affected the “nature and extent” conditions that govern where fishermen operate, how they fish and what they fish for.
He added that despite this, two “environmental” conditions remained in effect: no trawling in the area where the bream spawns and limiting the amount of dredging gear a boat could pull.
In the report published by Ouest-France, Mr. Ménard defended the skipper of the offending ship by saying: “The Granville boats find themselves hostage to a situation where arbitrariness seems to reign.
“The political decision in Jersey to redefine the licensing conditions for French boats is not acceptable. If it is not reviewed, an entire part of the local economy will be affected, with disastrous consequences on employment ”. The report went on to say that a banner supporting the fishermen of Granville would soon be hung on the front of the town hall.
Meanwhile, a senator from the La Manche region has come under fire after encouraging skippers of Norman and Breton ships with licensing issues to contact Jersey authorities directly in order to expedite any potential issues.
Appearing at a meeting with aggrieved fishermen last week, Béatrice Gosselin said some historical fishing data submitted by fishermen was taking too long to transfer from EU authorities to Jersey. She also criticized the threat to cut off the island’s electricity supply made by her country’s Minister for the Sea, Annick Girardin, calling it a “media stunt”.
His remarks, along with similar comments by an MP from the same region, were criticized by the Normandy Regional Fisheries Committee, which warned they risk derailing negotiations.
A spokesperson for the committee said: ‘Encouraging fishermen – playing on their legitimate fear for the future – to provide their data directly will allow Jersey, the vanguard of London, to gradually force the Norman fishery to disappear from its waters with random and individual measures.
External Relations Minister Ian Gorst and Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham traveled to Downing Street this week to meet with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the ongoing dispute.