Brexit news: French boats ‘decimating’ Jersey scallops stock – new rules | Politics | News

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From the end of April new post-Brexit rules will block access to those French vessels unable to prove a historic connection with the waters. However Jersey islanders report French ships are “making hay while the sun shines” before the new rules come into effect by dredging the sea floor in the hunt for scallops.

Speaking to The Times Don Thompson, president of the Jersey Fishermen’s Association, claimed the area was being targeted by French boats up to 65ft long using “industrial fishing methods”.

He added: “The heavy gear used by those big powerful boats just wrecks the group, there’s no two ways about it.

“That’s industrial fishing and it’s unsustainable fishing.

“Those are the scallop stocks that our fishermen will rely on for the future and they are being absolutely decimated.

“All that is being done under the amnesty provided just to appease the French by our own Government. It really is making fishermen very angry.”

Britain used to be part of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy giving European fishing boats extensive access to UK waters.

Under the trade deal agreed by Boris Johnson the EU’s share of the catch from British waters will fall by 25 percent in stages over the next five years.

After this the UK will in theory be able to completely exclude European boats but this would risk retaliatory tariffs on British goods.

Local photographer David Ferguson, who has been picturing the French boats, branded the current fishing unsustainable.

Describing his work he said: “It was more of an exercise in seeing how large these vessels were in comparison to our local fleet.

“It’s a well-known fact that continuous dredging will completely decimate the ocean floor and the breeding grounds that go with it.

“There simply has to be a better way of managing fisheries with our EU colleagues in and around our islands.”

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Europe continues to come under fire for its slow vaccination programme, with even the World Health Organisation (WHO) branding the roll-out “unacceptably slow”.

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