French fishermen threaten to blockade Jersey port - UK dispatches gunboats

The UK will send two Royal Navy patrol vessels to monitor a protest in waters around Jersey's main port amid a fishing rights row with France, the BBC has reported.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "any blockade would be completely unjustified" as over 100 French fishing boats prepared to sail to the island on Thursday.

It follows a threat by France to cut off Jersey's electricity over new post-Brexit rules for French fishing boats.

No 10 said sending the gunboats was a "precautionary measure".

The new rules - introduced by the Jersey government under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) - require French boats to show they have a history of fishing in Jersey's waters.

But French authorities said "new technical measures" for fishing off the Channel Islands had not been communicated to the EU, rendering them "null and void".

Johnson pledged his "unwavering support" for the island, a Crown dependency 14 miles (22km) off France in the English Channel.

The prime minister held talks with Jersey's Chief Minister John Le Fondré and Minister of External Affairs Ian Gorst, and "stressed the urgent need for a de-escalation in tensions" between Jersey and France.

The AFP news agency reported that about 100 French fishing vessels would sail to Jersey's port on Thursday as part of a protest against the new rules, quoting the head of fisheries for the Normandy region, Dimitri Rogoff.

Mr Rogoff said the vessels would not try to block the island's main port at St Helier and would return to France in the afternoon, AFP reported.

Image: By Photo: LA(Phot) Al Macleod/MOD, OGL v1.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/...

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