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French fishermen temporarily barred from waters off Normandy coast as Brexit takes hold

French fishermen temporarily barred from waters off Normandy coast as Brexit takes hold
French fishermen were among the first to feel the direct effects of Britain's exit from the European Union, after discovering that they are temporarily barred from waters that were governed by a now-defunct treaty.

Access to waters around Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands off the coast of Normandy, was granted under a European fisheries accord that expired automatically on Friday evening with the UK's departure from the bloc.

London still needs to negotiate a new trade agreement with Brussels, but a transition period will allow "business as usual" until the end of the year. However, Guernsey, a British crown dependency, has announced that it is implementing a new system that will give boats individual authorization to enter its waters. This means that French fishermen will be prohibited from entering the waters until the new policy is put in place – a process which is expected to take about a week.

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The French Agriculture Ministry confirmed that access by French vessels to Guernsey waters has been "temporarily suspended" for the time being.

The minor territorial hiccup illustrates the complicated variables that Britain must consider while trying to work toward a new trade deal with the EU. The bloc is London's biggest trading partner, making an economic agreement with Brussels a top priority for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Tory government.

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