Jersey ‘warzone’ fishermen warn of ‘retaliation on big scale’ if French return

Fishermen on Jersey warned on Friday of a “summer of discontent” as the explosive row over trawler licences continued.

They also said that if French fishermen returned, there would be serious trouble.

Many felt they were wrong-footed by the French “invasion” on Thursday when they sailed in to confront British naval gunboats and blockade the harbour.

And they vowed they would be ready next time.

Paul Bizec, 59, said: “When they come back we will be ready for them, it’s going to get messy.

“It’ll be like a warzone, our boys are getting ready for a fight, the French have been raiding our shores all they like while I can only fish once a week.

“We will pelt them with frozen tomatoes and rotten fruit, they’ll be sorry they messed with us.

“It will be retaliation on a big scale, the French don’t play fair so we will play them at their own game.”

Richard Le Brun, 68, said: “It is going to get worse, a summer of discontent.

“There will be months and months of this protesting.

“We have capitulated to them numerous times and they always come back demanding more.

“You will get them protesting at the mainland UK ports too if they don’t get their way.

“If we went and protested at their ports then would ram us or set our boats on fire.

“They would throw a bucket of diesel over the catch so it is worthless.

“We are p**sed off and we won’t take them coming back, as soon as they come into the harbour it will get very dirty, they will be sorry they messed with us.

“The French fishermen have started this, but we will finish it.”

Onboard his boat in harbour retired fisherman Mick Watton, 69, said: “We are just fighting for what is ours.

“The area has been over fished by the French for years.”

His friend Mark Rive, 55, said: “We are so grateful the British navy arrived to help us here in Jersey.

“We want the spirit of the battles of Agincourt and Crecy.

“Our boats are not allowed to fish in French waters.

“It’s a mess and lot of bureaucracy on both sides.”

Lobsterman Andrew Thorpe, 52, invited the Mirror on to his boat.

He said: “I just wish the authorities would sort out the issues with the French fishermen so we don’t see scenes like we did yesterday morning.

“I’ve been fishing here since I was a kid.

“There are too many regulations.”

Over 60 boats from Normandy sailed to Jersey on Thursday to protest new controversial rules on licences.

A tense stand-off ensued before the French vessels left to return to their home port of Granville.

They said they were planning on returning at some stage in the near future unless the situation is resolved.

There were reports that a blockade of Calais is being planned for later this month.

France has threatened Jersey that it could cut off their electricity supply which comes from an undersea cable.

But on Friday night Jersey officials said they would be able to cope with any potential cut.

Matt Swann, 39, said: “We can cope – the island of Jersey got through the Second World War we can certainly get through this.”

This weekend Jersey celebrates Liberation Day – which marks the 76th anniversary of the island being freed from Nazi occupation.