Home » Politics » Brexit LIVE: It’s finally hit home! French fishermen panic as just 23 allowed in UK waters
Brexit LIVE: It’s finally hit home! French fishermen panic as just 23 allowed in UK waters
March 29, 2021
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Fishing chiefs in Boulogne-sur-Mer, just over an hour from the UK’s maritime border with the EU, have complained they have yet to be granted a licence to fish in the UK’s 12-mile zone. In a letter to Brussels officials, French Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin and mayor of Boulogne-sur-Mer Frédéric Cuvillier said urgent action needed to be taken.
The letter, which is also signed by Jean-François Rapin, regional councillor and senator of Pas-de-Calais, and Xavier Bertrand, president of the Hauts-de-France region, claimed only 23 licences had been issued by the UK Government for a fleet of 850 vessels.
Express.co.uk understands officials at the UK Single Issuing Authority (SIA) responsible for licencing began to issue licences to allow EU fisheries to operate within 12 miles of the British coastline on January 29.
But the letter, also copied to officials in Whitehall, stressed: “On January 1, in front of the players in the sector in Boulogne-sur-Mer, the government made a commitment that fishing licenses in the 6-12 nautical mile zone be awarded within 48 hours.
“But to date and despite this commitment, only 23 licenses have been awarded directly threatening the activity of the 850 sailors of Hauts-de-France and the 5,000 jobs in the port.”
Frédéric Cuvillier, Mayor of Boulogne-sur-Mer, added in a statement: “It is scandalous.
“Countries must demand a support plan at European level.
“France must be a player in this necessary requirement.”
Stéphane Pinto, vice chairwoman of the Regional Fisheries Committee claimed the French government must put pressure on the European Union to find a solution.
She added: “I cannot conceive of the French authorities telling business leaders French ‘we have no solution, you have to cease your activity’ “.
Ms Pinto claimed they were told by Paris officials that if licences from the UK Single Issuing Authority didn’t arrive soon then there would have to be a “fleet exit plan” established.
“In other words, we break the boats and we are given money,” she explained.
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