8th July 1994

Jersey families camp on Ecrehous to repel the French

When Jersey proposed increasing its territorial waters from three to 12 miles in all directions, French trawler crews were worried. This would encompass waters that they were accustomed to fishing for crab, which could impact their ability to ply a profitable trade. It also put the islets of Les Ecrehous within Jersey waters.

A French invasion

Clearly, something had to be done which, in the trawler workers’ eyes, meant occupation of the islets by both them and their dogs. This posed a problem for Jersey, since the dogs would not only provide protection for the fishermen but also contravene regulations designed to prevent the spread of rabies.

Families on Jersey, many of whom had owned huts on Les Ecrehous for decades, couldn’t let this happen, so they set up camp on the islets with the aim of staking their claim. Although this may have upset the trawler crews, it would not have done the same to the French government, which recognised the Channel Islands’ claim on the outposts and in 1951 had agreed to arbitration at the International Court to settle their matter of their ownership once and for all.


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