French pledge more action if fishing restrictions remain

AS dozens of vessels descended on Jersey on Thursday morning, officials from four French ports demanded to speak to representatives from the Island’s government.

Cyril Piraud, Camille Lecreuil, Guilmen Damien, Chris Le Masurier (Normandy Trader), Julien Mouton, Erhel Nicolas with Assistant Environment Minister Gregory Guida and Greg Morel, director of marine resources pictured during talks yesterday. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (30791467)
Cyril Piraud, Camille Lecreuil, Guilmen Damien, Chris Le Masurier (Normandy Trader), Julien Mouton, Erhel Nicolas with Assistant Environment Minister Gregory Guida and Greg Morel, director of marine resources pictured during talks yesterday. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (30791467)

And, as the tensions boiled over, one of the protesting fishermen, Cyril Piraud, from Granville, who has just spent three million euros on two new trawler vessels, said he could face bankruptcy if he was prevented from operating in the Island.

Meanwhile fellow fishermen Julien Mouton, Guilmen Damien, Camille Lecureuil and Ehrel Nicolas – from Carteret, St Malo and Gouville-Sur-Mer – warned that Islanders would be stopped from trading with France if issues were not resolved.

Speaking on behalf of the group through an interpreter during the protest yesterday, Mr Lecureuil said: ‘We are all here for the same reason – we want to carry on working. The licences that we were given last Friday are not workable.

‘If this is not resolved, it will be the end of fishing for people in Normandy and the end of us – bankruptcy – as well.

French fishermen blockade the entrance to the harbour over post-Brexit access to Jersey waters preventing the Commodore Clipper from leaving port. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30788576)

‘It will also not just be us affected. Everybody will be impacted, the Jersey people and Jersey fishermen, as well as commerce between Jersey and France. It will be finished.’

He added: ‘If we go bankrupt and have to close our businesses, then we are not going to let Jersey continue to conduct trade in France. We need to find an agreement like we had before – like we had under the old Granville Bay Treaty – to allow the French and Jersey boats to work together.’

The group was asked whether it would carry out further demonstrations in Jersey if the licensing issues were not resolved.

In response, Mr Piraud said: ‘Yes, yes, yes. Absolutely. We cannot decide what other people in the fleet will do or how they will behave but we will not have a lot to lose if we cannot fish.’

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