Petition Revoke the Bay of Granville Fishing Agreement
The current Treaty with France favours the latter. The Treaty allows French authorities to license their own boats to fish in Jersey's territorial waters based on arbitrary, historical 'rights'. Jersey fishers need a modern agreement based on zonal attachment that focuses on sustainability.
This response was given on 5 August 2020
The Bay of Granville Agreement establishes the fisheries management regime in the Normano-Breton Gulf. Ministers have agreed that some aspects need reviewing and that process is currently ongoing.
The Bay of Granville Agreement (BoGA) establishes the fisheries management regime for Jersey and French waters in the Normano-Breton Gulf. Ministers have agreed that some aspects of the Agreement need reviewing and that process is currently ongoing. Until this is complete and there is further clarity as to the nature and detail of the UK/EU relationship and how it may impact on fisheries and their management in Jersey’s Waters, all options for current and future agreements with neighbouring jurisdictions must remain on the table.
The BoGA is a bilateral agreement between the United Kingdom (UK) and France that was signed in 2000 and which came into force on 1 January 2004. The BoGA established a joint fisheries management framework within the Normano-Breton Gulf covering a defined portion of the territorial seas of France (specifically lower Normandy and north Brittany) and Jersey. Within this area the BoGA has a number of objectives:
1. the establishment of a shared regional fishery via restricted access to the BoGA area;
2. the joint management of the shared fishery;
3. to foster good regional relations between fishing representatives, and;
4. contribute to the prosperity of the local communities.
The Agreement allowed for the establishment of Jersey’s Territorial Waters out to the 12 mile limit or the median line, the capping of fishing effort in BoG Waters, and providing fishermen with a key role in the management of the stocks through a Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) composed of fishermen from Jersey and France.. This JAC aspect was particularly forward thinking at the time. The BoGA also acknowledges that marine management is complex and is constantly changing; therefore, an Article was included which obliges the parties to periodically review and update the Agreement. This review process is currently ongoing.
Ministers have set out the principles for the review of the Agreement based on the BoGA key objectives: -
1. We seek to strengthen relations of friendship and neighbourliness.
Jersey has long had a policy and political commitment to continuing and developing our close and valued links with France. We are particularly committed to having a constructive and positive relationship on fishing and marine matters. The Government of Jersey and the island’s fishing community have always been clear that local relations, communication and agreements are key to ensuring the responsible and sustainable management of our shared marine resources.
2. We want to ensure sustainable fisheries and marine ecosystems.
It is paramount that Jersey continues to develop a marine resources regime that ensures the sustainable management of fish and shellfish stocks. This is based on the best available evidence and the precautionary approach, together with measures to protect and conserve the wider marine environment and fulfil our International obligations. Measures adopted need to apply to all fishing vessels accessing Jersey Waters.
3. We will contribute to the prosperity of the local community which depend on the fishery resource.
Local and regional fishery and marine resources must be conserved and managed for the benefit of local fishermen and communities based in the Bay of Granville who are economically dependent on accessing Jersey Waters and have a history of access to the waters. This shared prosperity must include equal, fair and unfettered access to the same market opportunities for all vessels wishing to access the area for fishing.
Ministers acknowledge that the review has not proceeded as quickly as has been hoped and still wish to complete this process as soon as possible. It has been further complicated by the UK’s decision to exit the European Union. Negotiations between the UK and EU are ongoing, and fisheries are an important, perhaps critical, part of that. Until there is further clarity as to the nature and detail of this relationship and of how it may impact on fisheries and their management in Jersey’s Waters, all options for current and future Agreements with neighbouring jurisdictions must remain on the table.
I wrote recently to the French Minister for Agriculture to outline our position Government to Government. Jersey remains committed to the Agreement as the hallmark of our good regional relations with France, and as an international agreement that governs access to waters. However, we are clear also that the Agreement requires reform in order to properly uphold the key principles it seeks to protect. Discussions are ongoing at both official and Ministerial level on this topic.
Jersey is surrounded by a rich and diverse marine ecosystem with clean and productive seas that support fishing, aquaculture and a range of tourist and other industries. It is our connection to the sea, together with the Island’s long social and cultural history, that make the Island of Jersey what it is today. Ministers will always strive to ensure we have the best systems in place to manage this important, fragile and valuable marine resource for the benefit of current and future generations.
At 5,000 signatures...
At 5,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in the States Assembly