A British trawler captain is being held in French territorial waters for allegedly fishing without a license. He will be going to court today to request the release of his vessel.

Skipper Jondy was optimistic that he would be able leave France today, as he was taken by his lawyer from the scallop vessel Cornelis Gert Jan at Le Havre.

The French authorities will release the boat under the conditions set by the court. 

It comes as a French minister praises Britain’s constructive’ spirit during recent fishing talks, in the first sign that there is a breakthrough. 

When asked by Mr Ward if Cornelius Gert Jan held the correct licence, he declined to comment. He replied, “Mmhmm.”

Matthieu Croix, his lawyer, drove Ward in a BMW black to Rouen to attend the Court of Appel hearing.

Skipper Jondy Ward was picked up from the scallop vessel Cornelis Gert Jan in Le Havre by his French lawyer at 9.30am local time in time for a court hearing in Rouen

Skipper Jondy was taken from the scallop vessel Cornelis Gert Ja in Le Havre, by his French lawyer. He was in Rouen for a court hearing.

Captain Jondy Ward seen leaving The Cornelis Gert Jan before heading to the court

Captain Jondy, seen leaving The Cornelis Get Jan before heading towards the court

Mr Ward was then driven away by his lawyer Matthieu Croix in a black BMW to attend the hearing at the Court of Appel in nearby Rouen (pictured)

Matthieu Croix, his lawyer, drove Mr Ward in a BMW black to Rouen to attend the Court of Appel hearing (pictured).

Andrew Brown, director at MacDuff Shellfish in Scotland, who owns the Cornelius said that charges against Ward are no longer active and could be appealed by the French.    

Mr Brown said that the judge dropped the illegal fishing charge at Rouen’s emergency hearing on Friday.

“But, this decision was contested by French authorities. Cornelius Gert Jan will be released under conditions that will be determined by a hearing on Wednesday. 

Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, French transport minister, stated today that the UK showed a constructive’ spirit during talks with France about post-Brexit licensing for fishing.   

“I spoke to yesterday evening my counterpart. Djebbari stated that the spirit was positive on this topic. He added that talks would continue until Thursday. 

It happened after George Eustice (UK Environment Secretary) admitted that he’misspoke” yesterday when he claimed that France had released the boat.

French prosecutors insisted the situation ‘remains subject to legal negotiations’ – with a deposit of around £125,000 (€150,000) due before she can return home to Britain.  

Disagreements over fishing between London and Paris culminated last Wednesday in the French seizure of the British trawler the Cornelis Gert Jan in French waters near Le Havre

Last Wednesday saw the French takeover of the British trawler, the Cornelis Gert Jan, in French waters close to Le Havre. This was the culmination of disagreements over fishing between Paris and London.

Captain Jondy Ward seen leaving the Cornelis Gert Jan before heading to the Rouen Court of Appel

Captain Jondy Ward seen leaving Cornelis Gert January before heading to Rouen Court of Appel

The boat was detained by gendarmes last Wednesday, and escorted to the quayside at Le Havre, where they have remained ever since. Pictured: Crew onboard the Cornelis Gert Jan

The boat was taken into custody by gendarmes on Wednesday and escorted to Le Havre’s quayside, where they have remained since. Pictured: Crew onboard the Cornelis Gert Jan

What is the fishing row in France and the UK about?

– How did Brexit start the fishing war?

The UK left the EU in 1970, and the common fisheries policies that allowed its members access to all European waters, excluding the first 12 miles of each country’s coastline, was also abandoned.

The Brexit agreement outlined how EU vessels could continue to fish in UK waterways, but British fishermen would be entitled to a larger share from the catch.

The majority of the share will be transferred to the UK in this year’s fiscal year. Annual negotiations will take place to determine how the catch is divided going forward.

– How has this aggravated tensions with France 

The rollout of the post-Brexit arrangements has caused a row, with Paris accusing the UK of failing to grant permission to every eligible French boat to fish in British waters. 

But the UK is adamant that it is following the terms of the Brexit deal which requires trawlers to provide historical GPS data to prove they worked in those waters before  Brexit. 

Some vessels were unable to provide the required data, which led to their applications for a license being rejected. 

France believes that the Government is lying to them by claiming that 98% of EU fishing licence requests were granted. 

France: What are they threatening to do? 

French ministers have warned that they will block British vessels from certain French ports and tighten controls on vessels travelling between France, Britain and France if the dispute over fishing licenses is not resolved.

Clement Beaune from France, France’s Europe Minister, said previously to French TV news channel CNews that he was extremely patient. Our fishermen have shown great responsibility. It’s over, effective November 2. We will engage in dialog if the British wish to, but we will take retaliatory actions. 

What does Britain think?

Ministers stated that they are open to granting more permits to boats that can provide historical evidence. 

The government has warned France against reprisals, a violation of the post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement. 

Is the climate changing? 

Last night, Emmanuel Macron extended Thursday’s deadline and said that no action would be taken while negotiations are continuing.

The Brexit minister Lord Frost and Mr Beaune will be meeting in Paris on Thursday.  

– Why was the British Trawler Detained?

After French authorities claimed that Cornelis was fishing in French waters, the scallop vessel was directed to divert to Le Havre.

French officials claimed that another British trawler was being held hostage for obstruction by the French after refusing to let police board to conduct checks.

Macduff Shellfish was the Cornelis owner and claimed that the vessel had been legally fishing in French waters. She called on the British Government for protection of British fishermen.

Ward is facing a trial next August for illegally fishing in French territorial waters to obtain valuable shellfish.

It happened after Mr Macron had said that he would return to the negotiation table with Britain, rather than continue his extraordinary sabre-rattling.

He has put to rest threats to stop British trawlers catching their catch in French ports and to reduce electricity to Jersey. He also tightened customs controls until at most Thursday.

Despite the truce in hostilities, French fishing chiefs warned trawlermen not to go into British waters in the event of a resurgence.

The UK appeared to be refusing to negotiate in the dispute over fishing rights. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was clear that Britain would not ‘roll over’.

However, more have been granted. The UK authorities insist on more evidence that they used waters prior to Brexit.

Last night, Mr Macron spoke to reporters at the Cop26 summit. He said: “It’s not while we’re negotiating that we will impose sanctions. 

“Since today afternoon, discussions have reopened on the basis a proposal I made Prime Minister Johnson.

“The talks should continue. Tomorrow, we’ll be able to see where things are at the end of each day. The next few hours will be crucial. He stated that he understood that the British would return to us tomorrow with new proposals.

The French also reacted furiously to claims that they were caught fabricating information to fish in UK waters after Brexit.

Officials in the UK used satellite data to counter claims made by French seamen claiming that they have fished off the British coast.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement stipulates that EU vessels must prove that they have operated in British waters during 2012 and 2016, before they can be granted a new license.

The French argue that smaller French trawlers less than 12 metres in length were not equipped GPS trackers, and could not easily prove their location.

Olivier Lepretre is the head of the Hauts-de-France Regional Fishing Association. He stated that his members had honesty requested 80 licenses to fish in UK waters, but were granted only 35.

Flatly denigrating any fabrications, Mr Lepretre stated that fishermen ‘just want the sea to continue their work’.

Fréderic Cuvillier, the Mayor of Boulogne – France’s biggest fishing port – meanwhile said: ‘We are in the midst of the post-Brexit earthquake.’

Mr Cuvillier warned that the sector of fishing was “still in crisis” and that many fishermen would be forced out of business if the UK refused French fishermen more licenses.

Lord Frost, Britain’s Brexit Secretary, is due to arrive in Paris on Thursday, to discuss the growing crisis, with France’s Europe Minister Clement Beaune.  

The Elysee Palace originally maintained its firmness, stating that if Britain refused concessions on the number licences it issued to French fishermen, it would impose its threats to British trawlers, to Jersey, and on customs inspections.

Ms Truss stated that if France acts, the UK would pursue legal action under the UK EU Brexit trade agreement. Downing Street, however, said it had ‘robust contingency plans’ in place.

Boris Johnson and Macron exchanged a frosty greeting at the Cop26 summit Monday in front of other world leaders. 

The day before, Johnson had said to the French leader at a G20 meeting that Rome was the right place for him to tell Paris to step back.

At the Cop26 summit on Monday, Boris Johnson and Mr Macron shared a frosty greeting on stage in front of other world leaders

Boris Johnson & Mr Macron shared a frosty greeting while on Monday’s Cop26 summit.

Despite the apparent lull of hostilities, a French fishing chief warned trawlermen Monday to avoid British waters in case the row recurs.

Olivier Lepretre is the chairman of the powerful northern French fishing committee. He said that he feared there might be some tit for tat measures. We need an agreement to work for both British and French fishermen.