France threatens to disconnect power to Jersey Island

Retaliatory measures could be imposed over new conditions introduced by UK in fishing agreement

Shweta Desai   | 05.05.2021
France threatens to disconnect power to Jersey Island


France will retaliate by cutting off the electricity supply to Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, the country’s maritime affairs minister threatened Tuesday, after the UK introduced new conditions in a fishing agreement over access to its waters. 

“These conditions of access were decided unilaterally and without explanation. It is completely unacceptable," Annick Girardin told the national assembly.

Last week, the UK announced new requirements to fish in waters around Jersey Island. It published a list of 41 fishing vessels equipped with Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) which would be authorized fishing rights from May 1.

“We are alongside the fishermen dependent on access to UK waters. Our neighbors impose criteria that do not belong to the post-Brexit agreement. The law is formal, conventions must be respected. We will ensure that the agreement signed at the end of 2020 is,” she said on Twitter.

The Channel Islands Electricity Grid is dependent on the transmission of electricity by submarine cable from France. Girardin said it is regretful that they have arrived at this point, but France has the means as part of the agreement and it is ready to use the
retaliatory measures.

“With regard to Jersey, I will recall for example transmission of electricity by submarine cable,” she hinted.

Girardin said she was revolted with the UK's new announcement over fishing in Jersey, an island which France has maintained “very good relations” with for more than 150 years. Several fisherpersons from La Manche, Ille-et-Vilaine, Cotes-d-Armor and Granville, located two hours from the island, are dependent on the waters of Jersey, she added.

Bertrand Sorre, a member of the French National Assembly representing the department of Manche, noted that earlier, fisherpeople were able to fish an average of 40 days a year in Jersey waters, but under the new restrictions, it will be only for 11 days.

On Monday, the Maritime Affairs Ministry deemed the new conditions “null and void” and approached the European Commission to intervene in the matter.

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