fishing regulations

France has threatened to ramp up cross-Channel border controls in a growing row over post-Brexit fishing rights.

France has been infuriated in recent months after the UK rejected requests by some small French boats to continue fishing in British waters.

The row erupted on Wednesday when Paris pledged to ban British fishing boats landing seafood in key ports from Tuesday unless it received further licences for French vessels.

It added it would also increase custom and sanitary controls on all freight crossing the Channel from Tuesday, and make stricter checks of trucks coming in and out of France. It also repeated a threat to cut off electricity supplies to Jersey.

“We have been patient. Our fishermen have been responsible. It’s over. From 2 November, we are taking retaliatory measures,” France’s Europe minister Clément Beaune told CNews.

“It is time to speak the language of force because I fear that it is all the government of the UK understands.”

France later confirmed on Wednesday night that one British boat had been escorted to Le Havre because it did not have a licence to fish in French waters. A second boat received a verbal warning.

Gabriel Attal, a French government spokesman, said French vessels had provided all the documents and information needed to receive their licenses, yet half of the requested licenses were “missing”. He added a more detailed list of reprisals would be published by the end of the week. “This is a situation that is not acceptable and I say clearly that our patience has run out.”

Other EU states are yet to back France’s calls for action. 

A Downing Street spokesperson said the UK government would retaliate over what it described as a potential breach of international law.

David Frost, the UK’s Brexit minister, said on Twitter that it was “very disappointing” that the French government had made threats and the government would seek “urgent clarification” of its plans.

“We will consider what further action is necessary in that light.”