Skirmishes feared

Navy to protect UK fishermen if Brexit talks fail

Royal Navy ships may intervene in defending fishing waters

Four Royal Navy ships will be on patrol from 1 January to help protect UK fishing waters if, as seems likely, there is no Brexit deal with the EU.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said it will ensure that it is ready for a range of scenarios at the end of the transition period.

Vessels are also being deployed to help cope with any disruption caused by Covid-19 and severe weather events.

They will have the power to stop, check and impound all European Union fishing boats operating within Britain’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which can extend 200 miles (320 km) from shore.

Scottish salmon and France

The fishing entente cordial may be about to be broken

The Guardian newspaper reported earlier that two vessels will be deployed at sea with two on standby in case EU fishing boats enter the EEZ.

The new measures have rekindled memories of the “cod war:” in the 1970s with the potential for British and foreign fishing crews to clash if existing rules that give EU boats access to British waters expire without a deal at the end of the year.

The French government is making moves to compensate its fishermen in an attempt to avoid skirmishes at sea.

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