“French fishing should not be taken hostage by the British for political ends,” says minister

The U.K. and France are at loggerheads again over fishing rights in the English Channel — the latest post-Brexit spat between the two countries.

A day after the U.K. announced it had approved only 12 out of 47 applications for new licenses for small French boats to fish in its territorial waters, the authorities on the island of Jersey turned down license applications from 75 French boats to operate in its waters.

Jersey, which is only 14 miles (22 kilometers) off the French coast, is a British Crown dependency outside of the U.K. As such, it has its own powers with regard to who is allowed to fish in its territorial waters.

The license refusals prompted anger from French authorities.

“These decisions are totally unacceptable and inadmissible,” French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said Wednesday, warning about potential “retaliatory measures” from the European Union’s 27 nations. Attal said the restrictions are contrary to the post-Brexit agreement that was signed between Britain and the EU.

The French government intends to work with the European Commission to find a solution, Attal said. He expressed solidarity with the French fishermen, saying he understands their anger because they had provided “all the justifications” to get their licenses.

France’s maritime minister, Annick Girardin, convened a meeting with fishing representatives Wednesday to prepare a response.

“French fishing should not be taken hostage by the British for political ends,” she said.

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