Britain is going to have to strengthen its defenses if the French are going to be this belligerent after Brexit.
Rocks, smoke bombs and other projectiles are reported to have been hurled at English and Scottish vessels during the confrontation in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
French fisherman are angry about a domestic ban preventing them from harvesting the scallop-rich region while British boats are free fish.
‘It is clear that we have insufficient ships to patrol the United Kingdom’s territorial seas and our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),’ Lord West wrote in the Daily Telegraph.
‘Co-ordination of the few ships we do have is fragmented. In theory, co-ordination is exercised by the co-located Joint Maritime Operations Command Centre.
‘But this command centre lacks a single commander with authority to order government departments to take action, and therefore is unable to exercise proper command. After Brexit, this will be disastrous.’
When Britain leaves the EU it will be responsible for patrolling its EEZ, rather than being part of a shared EEZ for the whole of the bloc.
EU members’ access to British fishing waters will then need to be negotiated as part of a Brexit deal.
French authorities try to preserve scallop stocks by banning their ships from fishing in the region over the summer, a measure that ends on October 1.
This law does not apply to the British, however – who anger the French mariners by harvesting scallops during this window.