Fishing leaders are “in general” supportive of the Government’s Brexit plan, according to a UK Minister.
David Lidington MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, visited Aberdeen yesterday to discuss the UK Government’s Fisheries White Paper with industry chiefs.
Following a discussion with the Scottish Fishermen Federation (SFF), the Conservative MP said the body was “in general” supportive of the approach set out in the paper.
He added: “They asked a number of questions about keeping separate the two issues in negotiation of access for our fish and shellfish to European markets and access to each other’s territorial waters.
“The EU, in its own arrangements with Norway, Iceland and other countries, has always distinguished between those two.
“They are different issues. Access to each other’s waters is something that is a different area of international law and we would operate as an independent coastal state.”
In its white paper, the UK Government said access to water and fishing opportunities will be negotiated on an annual basis.
The Scottish Government said it had “significant concerns” about many of the proposals, while claiming the white paper was drawn up without meaningful engagement, and that it “completely ignores” the seafood processing sector.
Mr Lidington said the Government is “determined” to maximise opportunities for the Scottish and UK fishing industry after exiting the EU and is “confident” of success.
Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen Federation, said: “The meeting with the Minister for the Cabinet Office provided another welcome opportunity to continue our direct engagement with the Brexit decision-makers, to make sure that for fishing, the Brexit Sea of Opportunity is realised.”