UK warns France of retaliation over fishing row threats

By Reuters
Published : 29 Oct 2021 09:36 PM | Updated : 01 Nov 2021 01:10 PM

The United Kingdom has warned France it could take retaliatory measures if Paris presses ahead with threatened sanctions amid an acrimonious post-Brexit row over fishing rights.

British Environment Secretary George Eustice said on Friday that London reserved the right to respond to any action “in a proportionate way”, with the two sides at loggerheads over the number of licences the UK has handed French vessels keen to fish in its territorial waters.

Paris has accused the UK of unfairly restricting trawlers from operating in its waters around the Channel Island of Jersey, a British Crown dependency that lies 22 kilometres (14 miles) off the coast of France. It says London’s actions violate the post-Brexit agreement the UK signed in December 2020, 11 months after it formally left the European Union on January 31 last year.

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Under the deal, EU trawlers seeking to fish in British waters following the UK’s departure from the bloc had to apply for new licences to do so. London was obliged to provide those licences provided the boats could prove that they had operated in the waters prior to Brexit.

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