Fishermen fish aboard the Boulogne-sur-Mer based trawler "Manureva" in the North Sea, off the coast of northern France, December 7, 2020. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

EU And U.K. Near Conclusion of Fishing Rights Dispute

Bloomberg
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April 10, 2022

By Jorge Valero

Apr 10, 2022, (Bloomberg) –The dispute between the European Union and the U.K. over fishing permits is nearing its conclusion as almost all the contested licenses have been granted to French vessels, the Financial Times reported.

“The commission fully intends to continue building a successful and constructive relationship with the U.K.,” EU commissioner for fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius told the FT in an interview published Sunday. “We managed to achieve most of the licenses that have been requested,” with around 70 permits outstanding, he added.

Both sides have been in talks over EU vessels’ access to U.K. waters following Brexit in 2020. Paris threatened to ask the bloc to take legal action over the issue as it considered that the U.K. demanded too much evidence to allow French fishermen continuing their work in U.K. waters under the terms of the new association agreement.

The dispute went quiet for weeks amid the turbulent geopolitical context following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron said last week that 90 percent of licenses had been retained.

Overall, about 1,500 EU boats have access to the U.K.’s exclusive economic zone, 12 to 200 nautical miles from the coast; and 150 to its territorial waters, from 6-12 miles out. In addition, 131 French boats have licenses to fish around the channel island of Jersey and 44 around nearby Guernsey.

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