THE BBC has come under fire after a Question Time audience member said the Royal Navy’s only mistake in the Jersey fishing row was “not sinking the ships”.

About 60 French boats took part in the protest around Jersey’s main port, St Helier, yesterday in a dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights, before subsequently returning to port.

The Royal Navy will continue to keep a watch on events but the two vessels deployed to the Channel Island were ordered back to port after the French protest ended.

The authorities in Jersey have promised further talks to help resolve the row, but the French government hit out at a “British failure” to abide by the terms of the UK-EU trade deal and warned it would “use all the leverage at our disposal” to protect the fishing industry.

READ MORE: UK sends gunboats to Jersey as French vessels gather in post-Brexit fishing protest

The European Union also accused Jersey of breaching the deal signed by the UK and Brussels.

The row erupted after the Jersey Government said French boats would be required to obtain licences to carry on fishing in the island’s waters under the terms of the trade deal with the EU, which came into force last Friday.

The move provoked a wave of anger among French fishing communities, which complained that boats which had operated there for years were suddenly having their access restricted, because they could not prove their historical links with the waters.

On Question Time last night the incident was discussed, with Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick saying efforts would be made to resolve the dispute with Emmanuel Macron’s government and the EU.

An audience panel member chipped in with his views. “What on Earth gave the French the right to suddenly start blockading a British port?

“The only mistake that the Royal Navy made was not sinking the ships in the first place.

“It’s an absolutely disgusting thing to have done and to try to justify it by saying well we should have been diplomatic, where were they? Shouldn’t they have started the diplomacy?”

The clip from the programme was then shared on social media by the BBC’s official Question Time account.

“Says more about this individual than the French, tbh,” commented @JoolsBell55. SNP MP Dr Philippa Whitford replied: “And [BBC Question Time] for promoting THIS comment!”

Others responded to say they had reported the tweet, calling on the BBC to be “more responsible”.

READ MORE: Could fishing clashes in Jersey result in Brexit 'cod war'?

“This is not normal. Stop amplifying hate!” added another Twitter user.

“This programme is a disgrace and needs to but taken off air for good,” wrote @Loft4W. “Shame on everyone involved that felt this was appropriate.”

“Can't believe you've given air time to this wally, but then to quote him in a tweet as if this is a reasonable opinion? Yeah sure. Let's just sink some boats. That'll help. Ridiculous," added David Masters.

The BBC has been contacted for comment.