British Royal Navy vessels withdraw from Jersey as fishing tensions ease

French fishing boats also gathered in a harbour early on Thursday as an act of protest.

Two Royal Navy vessels sent to Jersey are to return to port as tensions in the region have begun to ease.

The vessels were sent by Britain to the island in response to a French protest in the Channel Island’s main port over post-Brexit fishing rights on Thursday, May 6.

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Boris Johnson said he was “pleased that the situation in Jersey has been resolved” and thanked the Royal Navy for the swift response.

French fishing boats sail into the harbour in protest against the new fishing licences on May 6, 2021 in St Helier, Jersey.

“The UK will always stand resolutely by the people of Jersey,” the Prime Minister said.

The authorities in Jersey have promised further talks to help resolve the row, but the French government hit out at a “British failure” to abide by the terms of the UK-EU trade deal and warned it would “use all the leverage at our disposal” to protect the fishing industry.

The European Union also accused Jersey of breaching the deal signed by the UK and Brussels.

Earlier today, two French patrol boats were also dispatched to Jersey as tensions continue to rise over post-Brexit fishing rights.

A row erupted in the region after Jersey’s government said French boats would be required to obtain a licence to fish in local waters under new post-Brexit trade deal terms which came into force last week.

French fishing communities have been angered by the newly-imposed restrictions, with some boats having operated in the area for years without problems.

Earlier in the week,French maritime minister Annick Girardin threatened to cut off electricity to the island - which receives 95 per cent of its supply from France - if the dispute could not be solved.

The French maritime authority for the Channel and the North Sea said the patrol boats Athos and Themis were being sent to the island “to ensure the protection of human life at sea”.

A spokeswoman said they were being stationed to be in a position to intervene “as quickly as possible” if the situation worsens.

Downing Street said on Wednesday that HMS Severn and HMS Tamar, now returning to port, were deployed as a “precautionary measure”.

Early on Thursday, May 6, local fishermen reported around 60 French boats gathering in protest against the new restrictions.

The protest was peaceful, “as we would expect”, said Gorse.

One of the fishermen, Dimitri Rogoff, who participated in the protest, said they weren’t seeking to blockage the port but simply protest.

“This isn’t an act of war. It’s an act of protest,” he told the Associated Press news agency.