Scottish fishermen’s leaders today welcomed commitments by UK government ministers to leaving the Common Fisheries Policy in March 2019.
In media comments, environment secretary Michael Gove and home secretary Amber Rudd explicitly raised the issue of Brexit providing a great opportunity for a better deal for fishing communities.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Mr Gove said the UK should leave the unpopular CFP in March 2019, and not at the end of any transition period.
“The prime minister is crystal clear; the moment we leave, we become an independent coastal state. I and my colleagues are clear; we will have continuing good relations with our European partners, but we will decided access and quotas.”
Mr Gove also welcomed the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation proposal of a nine-month bridge from March to December 2019 to fit in with international fisheries negotiations.
Meanwhile Ms Rudd told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “In my constituency in Hastings, we hate the Common Fisheries Policy. It has not been good for the communities. We would like to make sure that the fishermen, all through our coastal communities, get a better deal.”
SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: “Becoming a coastal state on day one in order that we can negotiate the best deal could make a real economic difference to our coastal communities.
“So we welcome these acknowledgements from within the UK government of the logic and practical sense of the position that we have been arguing and fighting for.
“There is the realisation of the sea of opportunity that exists from exiting the CFP – but it can only work if we get out on day one. There is no other way.”