Four Royal Navy patrol ships will be ready on Jan. 1 to protect Britain’s fishing waters in the event of the Brexit transition period ending without a deal according to the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

There are concerns about possible skirmishes between British and foreign fishing vessels if no trade deal is reached, with existing transitional rules that give EU boats access to British waters set to expire at the end of the year.

“The MOD has conducted extensive planning and preparation to ensure that Defence is ready for a range of scenarios at the end of the Transition Period,” an MOD spokesman said.

The 80-metre-long navy vessels will have the power to stop, check and impound all EU fishing boats operating within Britain’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which can extend 200 miles (320 km) from shore.

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