British fishermen have asked for the protection of the Royal Navy after eight fishing boats were surrounded by French vessels this week in international waters 15 miles off Caen in a dispute over scallops.
The BBC reports the French are angry that the British are exempt from French restrictions designed to replenish stocks of coquilles Saint Jacques at this time of year.
Kevin Lochrane from East Sussex, said a French fishing protection vessel refused to intervene.
The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency contacted French coastguards, who sent a patrol vessel to the area.
"UK vessels have a legitimate right to fish in these waters and France must continue to provide adequate protection to UK fishermen,'' said Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon.