Empty-handed! France fury as fishermen STILL left with no licences – anger at Macron

Fishing: UK set for ‘high level Brexit meetings’ with EU in June

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French politician Xavier Bertrand, who represents fishing communities in the Hauts-de-France region, has taken aim at the French government for not keeping its promises and allowing fishermen to slip through the net. The 56-year-old said five ministers have been deployed to the northernmost region of France, but insisted they arrived “empty-handed” and without fishing licences.

In a post on Twitter, Mr Betrand said: “Five ministers have been sent to my region, but unfortunately they came empty-handed!

“Fishermen from #HautsDeFrance still cannot fish because they are waiting for the licenses promised in January!”

The UK took back control of its waters after Brexit and EU vessels now have to apply for a licence.

French fishermen must now prove they have previously operated in UK waters through GPS data, however many do not have such technology.

Mr Bertrand added French vessels were given assurances back in January that things would be sorted in a couple of days.

Speaking on French radio station France Info, he said: “I have five ministers in my region who came empty-handed to see our fishermen.

“I have fishermen who since January have only heard the government’s promises.

“They lack licenses to fish in British waters, in the 6-12 mile zone.

“In January two ministers came and said everything would be solved in two days. It’s been six months.

“And the fishermen who cannot go fishing are deprived of work because the government has not kept its own promise.”

The UK left the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy and now manages its own territorial waters.

The area comprises up to 12 nautical miles from the shores of Britain and the Exclusive Economic Zone, which stretches 200 nautical miles.

The UK Single Issuing Authority (SIA) has been set up to issue licences to both UK and non-UK vessels authorising access to UK waters to fish.

As part of the Brexit trade deal signed in December, EU fishing quotas will be reduced by 25 percent over the next five years.

Last week, the first annual quotas for 70 fishing stocks were negotiated with Brussels.


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The new deal is estimated to be worth an additional £27million to the UK economy, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The total value UK-EU fishing opportunities for the UK in 2021 is approximately £333million, which is around 160,000 tonnes.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
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