the essential Faced with the difficulties to obtain fishing rights, in particular from the authorities of the Anglo-Norman island of Jersey, the Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin announced on Thursday 18 November the preparation of “fleet exit plans” to compensate French fishermen. A plan that aroused the anger of elected officials and professionals.
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This “fleet exit plan” was announced to deal with the difficulties in obtaining fishing rights, in particular from the authorities of the Channel Island of Jersey. 150 ships could remain at the quayside in fine.
At the microphone of BFMTV, Philippe, fisherman in Granville, department of Manche, is disillusioned. “As usual, we are abandoned by our government, once again they lower their pants in front of the English! When is the French government going to bang their fist on the table?”
“France lowers its pants”
Local officials and professionals immediately rejected the hypothesis of a “massive plan to destroy ships” while negotiations continue with London. But also in French ports whose activity depends largely on British waters. “The defeat was predictable (…). It’s a fiasco”, reacted Pascal Delacour, boss of a trawler from Granville (Manche), opposite Jersey. “France has lowered its pants and abandoned its young sailors because it is above all they who do not have licenses.” “France is lowering its pants”, also said the president of the Côtes-d’Armor fisheries committee, Alain Coudray, for whom “with the English (…) we must not let go of a centimeter, he you have to show your teeth, otherwise … “
For the mayor of Boulogne-sur-Mer Frédéric Cuvillier, “the fleet exit plan is not compensation, it is the scrapping of boats. We empty our ports of their fishing capacity, that is, is an ultimate solution “. Asked by franceinfo, he assured that it was necessary to set up “a support plan for fishermen at European level and not to have as a first solution to say ‘since we are unable to obtain licenses, we are going out the boats of their fishing capacity and scrapping them ‘”.
The wrath of the elected officials
While France has already lowered its requirements, professionals have the feeling of giving up. “It is a visibility that you need. I will therefore be frank with you, we must prepare for these losses,” the minister told them in the morning. She specified that “an envelope of 40 to 60 million euros” could “be put on the table “, supplemented by European funds intended to support the consequences of Brexit, in order to compensate fishermen whose vessels cannot be taken back and will end up being scrapped.
Several politicians have also expressed their anger. The words of the minister are “a shame, because there is nothing worse than to tell a worker, a fisherman, to burn, to break, his working tool”, reacted the PCF candidate to the presidential Fabien Roussel Friday on BFMTV. He thus called for “putting pressure on the British government of Jersey”, proposing an action which would have according to him “an immediate effect”: “repatriation”, by the French “who have relocated their company to the island of Jersey, which is a tax haven “, and which” stash their money over there “, from” all their accounts in France “. “They (The British, Editor’s note) prevent us from fishing, let’s prevent them from embezzling money by undermining this tax haven,” he summed up.
On the right, Valérie Pécresse, candidate for the LR nomination, denounced in a tweet the “scandalous renunciation of France against the British”. “Emmanuel Macron’s commitment to defend our fishermen will remain a dead letter!” She lamented. Ms. Girardin repeated that the “priority of the government (was) to obtain licenses”. But “that does not prevent predicting the future of the industry”, including by compensating those who remain at the dock, she justified.