EU official says UK-France fishing dispute nearly resolved
Published: Apr 11, 2022 05:42 PM
Brexit Photo:VCG

Brexit Photo:VCG

A post-Brexit row between France and Britain over fishing rights for French boats is nearing resolution after months of negotiations, the EU's fishing commissioner said in an interview Sunday.

"We managed to achieve most of the licenses that have been requested" by the owners of the French vessels to fish in British waters, with only 70 licenses outstanding, commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius said. He said the commission, which had backed France in the dispute, "fully intends to continue building a successful and constructive relationship with the UK."

Contacted by AFP, the European Commission did not immediately confirm the information nor provide further details.

But a spokesperson at France's ministry of the sea told AFP that "there isn't any particular update on the issue" to give.

As part of the Brexit deal setting out EU-British relations following Britain's departure from the European Union in 2020, the UK agreed to allow French vessels to continue to operate in British and Channel Island waters they had plied for centuries.

While Britain granted nearly 1,700 licenses to EU boats to fish in waters 12-200 nautical miles (22-370 kilometers) from the coast, it imposed what France said was an impractical burden of proof for French vessels seeking to operate in the fish-rich zone 6-12 nautical miles offshore.

License applications for 150 vessels were initially rejected for waters around Britain and Jersey. 

In December, France said there were 80 license applications outstanding and it was going to ask Brussels to open litigation proceedings against Britain if they were not granted.