UPDATE - UK-France Fishing Row Heightens With French Fishermen Staging Protest Off Jersey - Reports

UPDATE - UK-France Fishing Row Heightens With French Fishermen Staging Protest Off Jersey - Reports

LONDON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 06th May, 2021) Tensions are rising on Thursday in Jersey with a flotilla of around 60 French fishing boats gathering off the largest UK largest Channel island to protest post-Brexit fishing rights while two Royal Navy vessels are patrolling the area.

According to UK broadcasters, the protest has so far remained peaceful and French fishermen have said that they do not intend to blockade the port of Saint Helier.

Fishing quotas were one of the sticking points in the negotiations of the post-Brexit trade agreement between the UK and the European Union following the UK's exit from the bloc in January last year.

Although both parties signed a trade agreement in December, Paris has been accusing London of preventing French fishing boats from operating in the UK waters because of difficulties in obtaining licenses.

The row escalated on Wednesday after France reportedly threatened to cut the electricity supply to Jersey, which is located 23 kilometers (14 miles) off the northern French coast and 140 kilometers south of UK's coast.

On Wednesday evening, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged authorities of the self-governing island to find a solution and de-escalate tensions through a dialogue with France.

Johnson warned, however, that any blockade by French fishermen would be completely unjustified and announced that as a "precautionary measure" two patrol vessels from the Royal Navy would be monitoring the situation.

According to the press release, issued by Johnson's office, Chief Minister of Jersey Senator John Le Fondre informed him of the situation on the ground.

"The Prime Minister reiterated his unequivocal support for Jersey and confirmed that the two Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessels would remain in place to monitor the situation as a precautionary measure," the office said in a statement, specifying that Johnson also spoke with Jersey's Deputy Chief Minister Lyndon Farnham and Minister of External Affairs Ian Gorst.

The officials agreed to keep in touch regarding further developments,, the office concluded.