Wednesday 29 September 2021
The Bailiwick of Guernsey has today announced its roadmap to issuing fishing licences to French vessels under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement ('the TCA').
These licences will enable qualifying French vessels to continue to fish in Bailiwick waters under the new TCA licensing regime.
When the transition period ended on 31 December 2020, it had been anticipated that a new licensing regime, established using a track record period in accordance with the TCA, would be in effect by 1 April 2021. Due to ongoing UK-EU technical work, the interim regime has been extended on a monthly basis since the end of March to allow this work to progress. On 23 September, the Committee for Economic Development agreed a roadmap to enable new licences to be issued in line with obligations under the TCA, which will bring the interim fisheries regime to an end.
The Bailiwick has received evidence to support applications by French vessels to fish in Bailiwick waters in line with the TCA, and during October the review of this data will be finalised, and the qualifying vessels will be confirmed. The Bailiwick will then inform the European Commission (via the UK) of general licence conditions, before issuing the TCA licenses to all qualifying vessels by 1 December 2021. The licences will only take effect on 1 February 2022, so that vessel owners have time to review their licences and raise any queries before they take effect. The Bailiwick also commits to extending the current interim authorisation monthly until 31 January 2022 for all vessels, to provide certainty and stability in the meantime.
The licences will contain placeholders for more technical conditions which may also be introduced. These relate to how the "extent and nature" provision in art. 502 of the TCA will operate, including its impact on licence conditions and "replacement" vessels. The UK will discuss such matters with the EU ahead of introduction.
As part of continued dialogue with the authorities in Normandy and La Manche, Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, Policy & Resources Committee lead for external relations, attended the annual political summit meeting with the President of the regional council of Normandy, Hervé Morin, and the President of the departmental council of La Manche, Jean Morin, on 24 September, hosted by the Government of Jersey, to update them on the current interim arrangements and the approach to future licensing policy.
Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, Policy & Resources Committee lead for external relations said:
"The Bailiwick's fisheries relationship with the EU and France changed as a result of the TCA negotiations which reached a very fast pace during December 2020. It is no surprise that it is taking a significant amount of time to implement the new agreement fully. The TCA has given the Bailiwick new powers and control over our territorial waters that could not be exercised in the same way when the UK was a member of the EU. The way that we approached the TCA negotiations, and the way that we intend to work under the agreement, is to recognise that each step taken to exercise this control could impact the balance of the economy in the region, for the fishermen in the Bailiwick and for those in Normandy and La Manche. We value our good relationships with Normandy and La Manche and I hope that the roadmap which we are announcing today provides certainty about how our fisheries relationship with France will operate in the future."
Deputy Neil Inder, President of the Committee for Economic Development added:
"It is important that we maintain a stable and predictable economic relationship for the fishing industry in and around the Bailiwick. While some technical discussions are still ongoing between the UK and the EU, the Committee was keen to implement licensing as soon as possible. The roadmap should provide certainty for all parties involved. We will soon confirm which vessels qualify for a licence, and we will then issue those licences by 1 December. The licences will take effect on 1 February 2022, at which point the existing interim fisheries regime will expire. We are doing this at a pace that is right for the Bailiwick, and we look forward to progressing other work with our neighbours as soon as possible, not least resuming access for direct landings by Bailiwick fishermen at the port of Diélette."