French flotilla protests at Jersey port in fishing row

There weren't just storm clouds gathering off the coast of Jersey on Thursday (May 6).

French trawler crews angry at post-Brexit restrictions on their access to British fishing grounds sailed in a flotilla to the British Channel island to protest.

A simmering row over fishing rights has escalated this week, with a French minister suggesting that French electricity supplies to Jersey could be cut.

Britain despatched two navy patrol boats to the island on Wednesday (May 5).

The French Navy said on Thursday that it had reciprocated by sending two patrol boats to the waters around Jersey.

Jersey sits just 14 miles off the northern French coast and 85 miles south of Britain's shores.

A marine traffic tracking website showed around 25 French-registered vessels off the Jersey port of St Helier on Thursday morning and video showed the flotilla arriving in port.

Jersey's government said the island had issued new fishing permits in accordance with the post-Brexit trade terms, which included new conditions for license-holders.

That angered French trawler crews and the French government, who said the new terms had been imposed unilaterally and without discussion, and that they placed unfair restrictions on French fishing vessels.

An official from the French Presidency said that France is keen that the situation does not worsen - adding that France viewed the situation in Jersey as being calm, but that Britain's language had aggravated tensions.

The European Commission says the EU is engaging in 'good faith' with the UK to solve the dispute.

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