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Britain issues more EU fishing licences in dispute with France

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Economy7 hours ago (Dec 11, 2021 10: 41AM ET)

Britain issues more EU fishing licences in dispute with France© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: French fishermen repair their nets at Boulogne-sur-Mer, northern France, December 28, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

(Reuters) -Britain issued additional fishing licences to EU vessels on Saturday in an attempt to resolve a dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights for French fishermen.

Britain issued 18 licences for EU replacement vessels in UK territorial waters and five licences for EU vessels to access Jersey waters, Britain and the European Commission said.

Technical consultations about seven additional licences are expected to conclude on Monday, the statements from London and Brussels said.

“We have licensed vessels where sufficient evidence has been provided that demonstrates that a vessel qualifies for access … Where that evidence has not been provided, licences have not been issued,” the British government said.

France said it took note of the new British licences and that 1,034 or 93% of French licence requests had now been secured.

Europe Minister Clement Beaune and Seas Minister Annick Girardin said in a joint statement France and the EU were looking into all possible legal avenues to secure the remaining licences and produce evidence that Britain had agreed to review.

Britain and the EU agreed to set up a licensing system to grant fishing vessels access to each other’s waters when Britain left the bloc. But France says it has not been given the full number it is due, while Britain says only those lacking the correct documentation have not been granted.

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Fishing represents a tiny share of both the French and British economies, but it is politically sensitive.

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