The UK government (though, as we know, decisions to do with fisheries is not taken by that particular entity no matter how DEFRA preens itself) has banned Guernsey fishermen from UK and EU waters (in fact, EU waters since there really  is no such thing as UK waters under the equal access of the CFP).

There appears to be some disagreement about events leading up to the ban. HMG says they have been negotiating since March and the ban is being used, they hope temporarily, as a last resort.

When the ruling was announced this morning though, Commerce and Employment Minister Deputy Kevin Stewart said the decision had come completely “out of the blue”.

The details seem a little complicated, though the BBC gives a good summary here.

The Fisheries Management Agreement means all commercial fishing within the Bailiwick's 12 nautical miles (nm) has to be licensed.

It also means Bailiwick vessels need licences to fish in EU and UK waters.

However, the lack of a quota policy has led to the UK suspending licences held by Bailiwick vessels from Saturday.

This decision does not prevent any Bailiwick fishermen from continuing to fish in local waters in accordance with their licences, but does prevent Bailiwick vessels from fishing in EU waters, which includes those of the UK. Guernsey's Commerce and Employment Department said it was "surprised and shocked at the short notice and lack of consultation".

It said George Eustice MP, UK Fisheries Minister, explained the move was in response to the States of Guernsey's policy of not applying UK quota controls to Bailiwick vessels in Bailiwick waters in accordance with the FMA. The BBC has approached the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for comment.

The Commerce and Employment department said not applying the UK quotas had been agreed in the Fisheries Management Agreement. It warned the imposition of the quotas could make many island fishing businesses "unviable".

Watch this space for updates on the story.


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