States approve law for island to manage its seas
Only foreign vessels that are able to demonstrate their fishing history in Jersey will be able to operate in the waters of the island under the licensing regime put in place by Environment Minister John Young.
The move comes amid growing tension between the Jersey and French fleets, which sparked a large protest in the port of Saint-Hélier earlier this year.
MP Young said: ‘This is, I hope, a big step forward, if not the solution, to many of these issues on how we make sure we can keep our fisheries sustainable and ensure that ‘they have a future, and we don’t. irresponsibly harming our marine environment ”.
He said the terms of the post-Brexit trade and economic cooperation agreement, which replaced the Granville Bay Treaty, meant that Jersey had “ the power to run our seas. ”
Under TECA, French vessels can only access Jersey waters if they have documents proving historical activity on the island.
A fishing amnesty period to allow European vessels to provide the relevant documents ends for larger vessels over 12 meters at the end of April, but has been extended for smaller vessels until June.
The minister added that the “ big difference ” between the French and Jersey fleets was that the island’s fleet contained small boats using low impact methods, such as static pots, and “ little effort dredging ”.
Tensions between the Jersey fleet and its French counterparts escalated for several months after the UK’s exit from the European Union.
And Deputy Young admitted there was “ a lot of choppy water ahead in terms of implementing this. ”
Licenses will also be based on capture data for the sake of sustainability.
The change was a “strong legal framework,” said MP Young, and “if a boat over 12 meters is fishing without a license, then it will do so against the rules.”
Members approved the change by 41 votes.
A law on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing was also adopted unanimously by 42 votes.
MP Young said that IUU fishing is “one of the great and serious threats to the sustainable exploitation of living aquatic resources and jeopardizes fisheries policy and management and international efforts to promote better ocean governance. “.
He said the law was an “important part” of international agreements and had to be re-enacted to “fulfill our obligation” after the UK left the EU.