Government publishes breakdown of licences granted to EU fishing boats


With the UK and France still at loggerheads over licences to fish in British waters, the Government has set out details of the permits already granted.

Brexit Minister Lord Frost, who will hold talks with France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune on Thursday, said the figures were being set out in detail for “full transparency”.

All foreign vessels fishing in UK waters require a licence and the Trade and Co-operation Agreement sets out the level of access for “qualifying” European Union boats which can show they have fished in British waters in at least four of the years from 2012 to 2016.

– The overall total shows 1,831 applications for licences have been received, with 1,793 issued and 38 requiring further information from the European Commission or member state.

This is the figure that ministers use when they state 98% of licences have been granted.

But there are also 37 applications from France for vessels which are direct replacements for previous boats which may qualify for a licence. Processing of these will be carried out once a methodology has been finalised.

– In the zone between 12 and 200 nautical miles offshore, all 1,673 licence applications have been granted, including 736 boats from France.

– In the six to 12 nautical mile zone, which has been at the centre of the dispute with Paris, 102 vessels over 12 metres in length have been given a licence, out of 109 applications. French boats have received 85 licences out of 88 applications, Belgian vessels 17 out of 21.

– The main source of French irritation has been for smaller vessels, the under-12 metre category, where 50 applications have been received – all from French vessels – but just 19 have been issued. One licensed vessel was withdrawn at the EU’s request.

– Jersey, which has also been a target of French anger, has issued 113 permanent and 49 temporary licences out of 217 applications.

Some 55 licence applications lapsed on October 30 due to a lack of evidence, while 11 applications for replacement vessels are pending the finalisation of the methodology to assess them.

– Guernsey’s transitional arrangements after Brexit allow access for 167 French vessels until 31 January 2022, with full licences issued on December 1, 2021 – so far 58 applications have been received.

– The Isle of Man has received no applications.

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