Brexit fishing talks breakthrough as UK grants licences to French fishermen

The UK and Jersey governments have issued more licenses to French fishing boats to fish in British waters amid a post-Brexit row over access rights.

A British government spokeswoman said an additional 18 licenses had been granted to alternative vessels that were able to show evidence of previously fishing on British soil, with another seven vessels under consideration.

It said Jersey had granted permanent licenses to five additional ships.

The spokeswoman said the decision came after Environment Minister George Eustice spoke with European Commissioner Virginius Sinkevicius on Friday evening “after several weeks of intense technical discussions around the licence.”

She added: “Throughout this process, the UK’s approach has been evidence-based and in line with our obligations under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

“We have authorized ships where sufficient evidence has been provided that the ship is eligible for access under the Anti-Terrorism Act. In the absence of such evidence, the permits have not been issued.”

A UK Government spokeswoman, providing details of the decision to grant more fishing licenses, said: “With regard to direct replacement vessels, we have taken an approach in line with the Anti-Terrorism Act that provides stability and ensures the sustainability of our fisheries.

“Last night, after receiving new evidence from the (European) Commission, the UK authorized 18 replacement ships based on this methodology.

Further technical work on seven other licenses for replacement vessels is scheduled to be completed directly on Monday.

“Jersey announced today that it can, after receiving new data this week, issue permanent licenses to five additional eligible vessels currently subject to provisional licenses.

This will bring the total perpetual licenses issued by Jersey to 130.

And with that, this phase of intense licensing talks now ends.”

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