Almost two-thirds of the public believe access to UK waters should be blocked or limited for EU fishing boats after Brexit.

Thirty-two per cent say vessels must be allowed in only under strict rules while 27 per cent think they must be kept out.

Meanwhile 56 per cent of people agree that exiting the Common Fisheries Policy will provide greater opportunities for UK fishermen, to just 10 per cent who disagree.

The findings, in a YouGov poll commissioned by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, indicate strong public support for the stance taken by the industry.

They come as senior SFF figures attend the latest in a series of high level talks with the UK Government today to discuss fishing post-Brexit.

The industry has been united in lobbying both the UK and Scottish governments to ensure control of UK waters is restored to this country, which can then negotiate access agreements with other coastal states in the requisite international meetings.

SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: “It’s clear from this poll that people can see Brexit presents the industry with a sea of opportunity.

“They also recognise that the current practice whereby we are forced to let in boats from other European countries, which are then free to go home with around 58 per cent of the total catch in our waters, needs to end. We must have first call on quota.

“We accept that there is a case for a very short bridging period in 2019 to align ourselves with annual international discussions, but we need to make the most of this opportunity as soon as possible.”

The pollsters asked voters: Following Brexit, which of the following options would you favour?

Thirty-two per cent favoured the UK and the EU reaching an agreement to limit access to EU member states, giving UK vessels priority, while 27 per cent said they believed EU member states should have no access to UK waters.

Only 20 per cent said British and EU member states should have full access to each other’s waters. Two per cent favoured an alternative arrangement and 19 per cent said they did not know.

The pollsters also asked: Under the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, vessels from all EU member states are permitted to fish in UK waters. In 2016, around 58 per cent of the fish caught in UK waters was by foreign boats. Considering this, to what extent do you agree that Brexit will provide more opportunity for UK fishermen?

Twenty-two per cent strongly agreed, while 34 per cent said they tended to agree. Seventeen per cent said they neither agreed nor disagreed, seven per cent said the tended to disagree and three per cent that they strongly disagreed. A further 17 per cent said they didn’t know.

The YouGov poll of 1,615 people was carried out on 4th and 5th October.