The United Kingdom sent two warships to the island of “Jersey” after threats by French fishermen to impose a blockade on fishing in that area, after Britain’s exit from the European Union, according to the British newspaper “The Independent”.
The British government responded on Wednesday “angrily” to what it said were “disproportionate and unacceptable threats”, after French ministers proposed the possibility of cutting off the electricity supply of the British island.
French fishermen plan to prevent goods entering or leaving Jersey ports to protest “new regulations” for fishing, which they say threaten their ability to earn a living.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned of the blockade “which is not justified at all”, and as a precaution, he has sent the two Royal Navy Maritime Patrol ships to monitor the situation.
In a phone call to a government official in Jersey, Johnson stressed the need for de-escalation of tensions as well as dialogue on the issue of fishing.
On their part, Dominic Raab, the British Foreign Secretary, and Greg Hands, the British Trade Secretary, spoke with their French counterparts to “express their concerns.”
Government sources told the newspaper that the French refused to organize a meeting between the French naval minister and British Environment Minister George Ostis.
With the escalation of tensions, the French Normandy region also closed its office on the island, while a British government spokesman told reporters in London that “the threat of Jersey is unacceptable.”
French fishermen say they are upset about the new fishing system after Brexit, because it requires them to provide evidence and documents proving that they have previously worked in certain areas to obtain a license to continue fishing.
Fishermen organized protests in French ports and banned the entrance of some British fish, which exacerbated the problems faced by British exporters due to Brexit.