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Minister rejects demands to revoke Granville Bay Treaty

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THE Environment Minister has rejected calls to revoke the controversial Granville Bay Treaty, saying that an ongoing review was his preferred means of reforming reciprocal fishing access for boats from Jersey and France.

Environment Minister John Young (28975882)

A petition demanding the revocation of the treaty, which was established in 2000 but has been described as ‘broken’ by the Jersey Fishermen’s Association, gained more than 1,000 signatures in less than a month after being launched in early July.

The minister, Deputy John Young, said the fact that a petition had been launched, and had attracted so many signatories, indicated how important the issue was.

He said he had recently written to the French Minister for Agriculture and the new Minister for the Seas to outline Jersey’s position.

‘While ministers remain committed to the treaty, we do recognise that reform is needed to make sure that the agreement continues to adhere to the principles it was founded on, and we will ensure that the changes that come from the review benefit everyone involved,’ he said.

The current review was, Deputy Young added, aimed at:

  • Developing relationships between Jersey and France to ensure marine resources could be sustainably managed.
  • Ensuring measures to sustainably manage fish and shellfish stocks applied to all fishing vessels in Jersey waters.
  • Providing equal opportunities for all boats accessing the waters.

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Greg Morel, who heads up Jersey’s natural environment marine resources unit, said: ‘While work on the review is under way, we are mindful that the agreement has to comply with any changes to the UK/EU relationship which are agreed as part of Brexit.

‘Because negotiations between the UK and the EU are ongoing, we are working to keep as many options on the table as possible.’

Jersey is not part of the UK/EU negotiations, but could be affected if some French boats are displaced from UK waters.

Jersey Fishermen’s Association president Don Thompson has estimated that up to 55 boats could end up coming to the Bay of Granville, putting further pressure on fish stocks and threatening the livelihoods of fishermen from Jersey, Brittany and Normandy who currently operate in the area.

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