France rejects UK’s post-Brexit provisional changes to fishing licences

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France has called on the European Commission to intervene after rejecting Britain’s provisional changes to fishing licences under the Brexit agreement, which would affect fishing rights in the Channel Islands.

France’s ministry for maritime affairs said Monday that it considered the new requirements put forth by the UK as “null and void” and called for a strict compliance on fisheries as negotiated under the Brexit agreement.

“If the UK wants to introduce new provisions then it must submit these to the European Commission, who then notifies us, which enables us to engage in a dialogue. At this stage, we find that these new technical measures are not applicable to our fishermen as they stand,” the ministry told AFP.

The new provisions concern new fishing zones, particularly around the waters of Jersey Island, “where vessels can and cannot go”, while specifying the “number of days” fishermen can spend at sea and “with what gear”, the department said.

On Friday, the UK published a list of 41 fishing vessels equipped with Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) and authorised to fish in waters around Jersey Island since Saturday.

The European Commission had been informed of the new provisions and was expected to “enter into a dialogue with the United Kingdom to understand what the changes mean and to provide us with some clarifications”, the ministry said.  

“It is clear that there will need to be a response to what the Jersey authorities have done in relation to fishing authorisations. We hope that the state will take retaliatory measures,” said Dimitri Rogoff, president of the Normandy regional fisheries committee.

The regional fisheries committees of Brittany and Normandy have threatened “a suspension of all economic relations with Jersey, including the ferry link between Jersey and the Continent”, in a joint statement sent to AFP.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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French fishermen seek to block British shipments in Brexit protest

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French trawlermen angered by the slow issuance of licenses to fish inside British waters after Brexit on Thursday blocked lorries carrying UK-landed fish as they arrived in Boulogne-sur-Mer, Europe’s largest seafood processing centre.

Britain’s post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union allowed the bloc’s fishermen to keep fishing deep into British waters, but only once they had received a license.

Those licenses were expected to be issued swiftly but instead some 80% of the French fleet in the northern Hauts-de-France region, from whose coastline Britain’s southern shores are visible, were still waiting, French fishermen said.

“We thought it would be a matter of days. Four months on we’ve barely moved forwards,” said Bruno Margolle, who heads the main fishermen’s cooperative in Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Some 80 fishermen set off flares on the Boulogne docks, blocked two trucks with a barricade of wood pallets and barrels, and put up a sign that read: “You want to keep your waters??? OK … So, keep your fish!!!”.

Many of the skippers struggling to obtain a license were unable to meet the British demand for electronic data showing they had fished in UK waters during the five years running up to Britain’s 2016 referendum on EU membership, Margolle said.

Britain maintained an evidence-based approach to licensing EU vessels using information supplied by the European Commission, the British government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said.

“(We) consider this reaction to be unjustified,” a DEFRA spokesman said. The British government had raised its concerns over the protest with French authorities, the spokesman added.

The French government late on Thursday urged the European Commission to take “firm and determined action” to ensure Britain applies the deal.

“We will act in a spirit of European solidarity and cooperation with Britain, but the urgency of the situation compels us all to speed up efforts,” Europe Minister Clement Beaune and Sea Minister Annick Girardin said in a statement.

About two-thirds of UK-landed fish are exported to the continent. In the first weeks of the year, Britain’s exit from the EU’s orbit led to a chaotic breakdown in supply chains, which used to see Scottish scallops and langoustine in French shops barely a day after they were harvested.

Meanwhile, fishermen in northern France say their livelihoods depend on access to British waters, where they chase mackerel, whiting, squid and other species.

Margolle said French fish stocks risked being depleted if French fishermen could not cross into British waters. Some fishermen were keeping their boats tied up in port, he said.

“It’s not worth going out to sea to lose money,” Margolle said.


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17 missing after Indonesia fishing boat, bulk carrier collide

JAKARTA: Divers were scouring the waters of the Java Sea on Sunday (Apr 4) for 17 fishermen reported missing after their boat capsized following a crash involving a bulk carrier, a spokesman for Indonesia’s search and rescue agency said.

Fifteen crew members of the fishing boat, the Barokah Jaya, were evacuated after Saturday’s crash, but five divers are searching for the remaining 17, Yusuf Latif, the spokesman of the agency, Basarnas, said in a statement.

“We’re still conducting the search,” Yusuf said, adding that an agency rescue ship had taken the survivors aboard.

The crash happened at 0930 GMT, Yusuf said. The other vessel was the bulk carrier Habco Pioneer, which has a capacity of nearly 30,000 tonnes. Both vessels are Indonesia-flagged.

There were no reports of casualties or missing crew on the Habco Pioneer, owned by tugboats and barges company PT Habco Primatama.

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A glimpse of life on the Rhine

YOU ARE HERE © INA, France 24

A natural border between France and Germany along 180 kilometres, the Rhine is a backbone of Europe. Every year, more than 300 million tonnes of goods pass through it: that’s about two-thirds of the river traffic in Western Europe. From bargepeople to police officers and fishermen, we meet those who make their living on this mythical waterway.

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Jersey: French fishermen caught up in post-Brexit bureaucratic storm

Many people breathed a sigh of relief after the UK and EU reached a last-minute post-Brexit trade deal last year. But for French fishermen in Normandy and Brittany opposite the Channel Islands, Brexit spells disaster. The accord nullified their access to fish in Jersey’s territorial waters. After pressure from Brussels and France, the island issued temporary licences to French boats – but these are due to expire at the end of April. FRANCE 24’s David Gilberg and Julia Kim went to meet fishermen caught up in the post-Brexit bureaucratic storm.

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During the Covid-19 Pandemic, This Lawyer Rebuilt His Boxing Gym at Home

James Thompson is proof that a home gym doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take up a ton of space. When Jim McNally Boxing in North Reading, Mass., closed in March due to Covid-19, Mr. Thompson set up a boxing gym at home for less than $300.

Instead of investing in a heavy punching bag, he made his own from a commercial fishing buoy filled with water and hung it from his back deck. “The majority of boxing brands sell water-filled heavy bags, marketing them as having more give and being easier on the arms and shoulders than traditional bags,” he says. “They all looked identical to the buoy but with a price tag more than three times what I paid.” He also bought a jump rope, a TRX suspension trainer, a resistance band and boxing gloves.

Mr. Thompson and his wife have four sons aged 18 to 27. He is the general counsel of a public company in Cambridge, Mass., and says the demands of his job require an efficient, effective workout. Boxing combines cardio and strength and doesn’t aggravate age-related body aches, he says. “I have a lot of knee and shoulder issues from a universe far, far away when I was a competitive swimmer and water polo player,” he says.

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Mr. Thompson, who is 60 years old, jokes that he doesn’t dream of turning pro. “I’ve never hit anyone and I don’t relish the thought of being hit,” he says. Hitting the bag has been a stress reliever during the pandemic. “It’s been great for my mental health,” he says. Mostly working from home, he says sneaking in a midday workout between Zoom calls brings his energy back. “It delivers that quick jolt of dopamine so you can push through the rest of the day,” he says.

Mr. Thompson had been working out on his deck, but recently moved his DIY boxing bag into the basement to prevent the water from freezing.

Mr. Thompson set up a home gym for less than $300 during the pandemic.

The Workout

Mr. Thompson’s workout takes 30 to 45 minutes and generally consists of a combination of jumping rope to warm up, body-weight suspension exercises using the TRX, resistance-band work for the shoulders, floor work and two to four rounds of heavy-bag work. He completes nine to 11 sets of three-minute rounds with one minute in between.

Mr. Thompson uses an app called Interval Timer to track rounds. He aims to get in four to five workouts a week. “I keep a log to keep myself honest,” he says.

Round 1: Jump rope warm-up

Round 2: Band work for shoulders
Round 3: 15 fly-to-chest presses followed by 15 high shoulder pulls with the TRX

Round 4: TRX tricep extensions and biceps curls

Round 5: One-legged TRX squats, 15-20 per leg and regular squats

Round 6: 50 hip thrusts followed by 100 superman leg lifts

Round 7: Freestyle on the bag working on combinations to get the heart rate up to 130-140 beats per minute

Round 8: More bag work

Round 9: 50 leg-raised crunches, 50 toe touches and plank pose

Mr. Thompson’s workout consists of nine to 11 sets of three-minute rounds with one minute in between.

Mr. Thompson uses a TRX suspension system as part of his circuit workout.

The Diet

Seasonal Flux: “We grill in the summer, but during the winter we eat less healthfully,” he admits. “I’ve definitely gained the Covid 10” [pounds].

Essential Food Group: Coffee

Breakfast: Yogurt and muesli.

Splurge: A thick steak with a glass of pinot noir.

Essential Gear

Jump rope: $6 from


Heavy bag: Polyform LD-3 low-drag buoy $51

Mat: “I bought a moving blanket for $5 from Harbor Freight that I fold to do floorwork on,” he says.

Playlist: Old-school metal or punk rock

Mr. Thompson warms up by jumping rope.

Share Your Thoughts

If your gym shut during the pandemic, how did you adjust your exercise routine? Join the conversation below.

Taking Care of Your Knees

“As people age and begin to experience knee pain, they usually don’t want to exercise anymore, which is the opposite of what they should be doing to help their knees,” says Martin Boublik, an assistant professor in the department of orthopedics at the University of Colorado and team physician for the Denver Broncos.

As we get older, we experience loss of muscle mass and our joints begin to get stiffer as we develop certain elements of arthritis, he says. Dr. Boublik estimates that 30% of his patients in their 60s have some form of symptomatic knee arthritis either caused by repetitive trauma over the years or a specific injury. To help these patients, he recommends nonimpact activities such as biking and swimming, as well as stretching and strengthening exercises.

“The goal isn’t to regain the knees you had in your 20s but to stay active and manage the symptoms,” he says.

Riley Williams, a sports-medicine surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and medical director for the Brooklyn Nets basketball team and Red Bulls soccer team says he encourages patients to strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles and the core muscles of the abdomen when dealing with debilitating knee pain.

“I typically recommend that patients do functional exercises that target the co-contraction of multiple muscle groups of the lower extremity,” he says. “For example, a step-up exercise targets the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteal muscles of the pelvis in concert.”

Dr. Boublik says lifelong runners don’t have to give up the sport, but he suggests decreasing mileage and intensity, incorporating recovery days, replacing sneakers every 200 to 300 miles and running on softer surfaces. Anyone experiencing knee pain should visit their primary-care doctor or an orthopedist before jumping into an exercise routine.

What’s your workout? Tell us at

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EU says post-Brexit trade talks with UK face ‘last attempt’ to fix fish – world news

The European Union’s chief negotiator said Friday that the bloc and the United Kingdom are starting a “last attempt” to clinch a post-Brexit trade deal, with EU fishing rights in British waters the most notable remaining obstacle to avoid a chaotic and costly changeover on New Year.

Michel Barnier told the EU parliament he “can’t say what will come out during this home straight of the negotiations,” which have already come a long way in nine months of talks. He called it “a very serious and somber situation” with the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people at stake.

The EU parliament has set a Sunday night deadline on the talks since it still will have to approve any deal ahead of year-end, when a transition period following the Jan. 31 departure of Britain from the bloc will expire.

“It’s the moment of truth,” said Barnier. “We have very little time remaining — just a few hours.”

A failure to reach a post-Brexit deal would lead to more chaos on the borders at the start of 2021 as new tariffs would add to other impediments to trade that are enacted by both sides. The talks have got bogged down on two main issues over the past days — the EU’s access to U.K. fishing waters and assurances of fair competition between businesses.

“We have reached the hard nuts to crack,” said Barnier.

He said the EU understood and respected the U.K. desire to rule its own waves, but said that “a credible period of adjustment” had to be given, if EU boats are to be kicked out of British waters despite centuries of tradition of sharing them.

On top of that, the more London denies access to its waters, the more the EU can impose duties and tariffs.

“The European Union also has to maintain its sovereign right to react or to compensate,” Barnier said, highlighting that the U.K. seafood industry is extremely dependent on exports to the 27-nation bloc. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made fisheries and U.K. control over its waters a key demand in the long saga of Britain’s departure from the EU.

The European Parliament issued a three-day ultimatum to negotiators to strike a trade deal if it’s to be in a position to ratify an agreement this year. European lawmakers said they will need to have the terms of any deal in front of them by late Sunday if they are to organize a special gathering before the end of the year.

If a deal comes later, it could only be ratified in 2021, as the parliament wouldn’t have enough time to debate the agreement before that.

A trade deal would ensure there are no tariffs and quotas on trade in goods between the two sides, but there would still be technical costs, partly associated with customs checks and non-tariff barriers on services.

Britain’s Parliament must also approve any Brexit deal, and the Christmas break adds to the timing complications. Lawmakers are due to be on vacation from Friday until Jan. 5, but the government has said they can be called back on 48 hours’ notice to approve an agreement if one is struck.

Though both sides would suffer economically from a failure to secure a trade deal, most economists think the British economy would take a greater hit, at least in the near-term, as it is relatively more reliant on trade with the EU than vice versa.

Both sides have said they would try to mitigate the impact of a no-deal, but most experts think that whatever short-term measures are put in place, the disruptions to trade will be immense.

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France to ‘keep calm and carry on’ as UK readies navy to protect fishing rights

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France on Saturday shrugged off plans by Britain to deploy naval vessels to protect its fishing rights in the wake of a possible no-deal Brexit.

“Keep calm and carry on,” an Elysee official said, resorting to a British wartime slogan in response to London’s decision to assign four Royal Navy patrol vessels if the Brexit transition period ends without a trade agreement.

The official declined further comment.

There are concerns about possible skirmishes between British and foreign fishing vessels if no trade deal is reached, with existing transitional rules that give EU boats access to British waters set to expire at the end of the year.

Britain earlier announced it had readied four 80-metre (260-feet) vessels to guard British waters from EU trawlers in case the two sides decide to abandon efforts to secure a free-trade agreement on Sunday.

The development is part of increased contingency planning on both sides of the Channel, and evokes memories of the “Cod Wars” with Iceland over fishing rights in the North Atlantic in the 1960s and 70s.


The British navy vessels will have the power to stop and inspect EU fishing boats operating within Britain’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which can extend 200 miles (320 km) from shore.

The Guardian newspaper reported earlier that two vessels would be deployed at sea with a further two on standby in case EU fishing boats entered the EEZ.

Tobias Ellwood, a Conservative Party lawmaker who chairs the British parliament’s defence select committee, called the move “irresponsible”.

‘No one will win’: French fishermen fear consequences of no-deal Brexit

A French fishing vessel in the North Sea.
A French fishing vessel in the North Sea. © Reuters / France 24

“We’re just facing the prospect of… our overstretched Royal Navy squaring up to a close NATO ally over fishing vessel rights,” he told BBC radio. “Our adversaries must be really enjoying this.”

A French minister said on Thursday that France would compensate its fishermen and take other measures to help them if talks on a trade deal collapsed, in an effort to avoid clashes at sea.

Britain quit the EU in January, but under the terms of its exit deal remains part of the bloc’s single market and customs union until a transition period expires on Dec. 31.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, Reuters)


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French fishermen fear consequences of no-deal Brexit

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As the deadline nears for an agreement on a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the European Union, fishermen in France fear they may soon be barred from fishing in British waters if an accord cannot soon be reached, something they say would be a catastrophe for their livelihoods.

Fishing rights are one of the main sticking points as Brexit negotiations go down to the wire.

The UK wants British fishing vessels to be given priority to fish in UK waters. But the EU is pushing for current access and quotas for EU vessels to remain largely unchanged.

French fishermen have lobbied President Emmanuel Macron to stand firm on fishing rights

But if a deal cannot be reached by January 1, it could mean French and other EU boats can no longer fish at all off the coast of the UK.

For French fishermen like the Margolle brothers, based in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France’s busiest fishing port, that would be a disaster.

They earn more than half their annual income from fish caught off British shores.

“If there’s a no dea,l it’s going to be complicated because European boats won’t have access to British waters anymore,” Nicolas Margolle told Reuters.

“So we’re all going to find ourselves in the French strip – with all the Belgian, Dutch boats, the French, of course. There’s never going to be enough room for everyone. And so the resources are going to be wiped out.”

“It would be a catastrophe for the whole coastline,” added his brother, Jeremy.

The UK fishing industry also stands to lose heavily if a deal cannot be secured. It would mean restricted access to the EU market for British fishing vessels to sell their catch.

And as the deadline for a deal approaches, the future looks uncertain for fishermen on both sides of the Channel.

“Whatever happens, no fishermen are going to win here,” said Nicolas Margolle. “I’m sure there won’t be any British fishermen who are satisfied, no French fishermen satisfied.”

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