At the end of 2020, we automatically take back control of our waters as an independent coastal state. We will be out of the common fisheries policy and we can decide who can fish in our waters and on what terms. This Government will maintain funding throughout this Parliament to support both our seafood industry and the regeneration of coastal communities in Scotland and around the United Kingdom.
The Minister will be aware that taking back control of our waters and regaining our status as an independent coastal state was one of the reasons why 1 million Scots voted to leave the European Union, so can he confirm that the UK Government will not sign up to anything that will take away those provisions and put that status at risk?
Yes, I can indeed confirm that. For the first time in 40 years, we will be free to decide who can access our waters and on what terms. Any access by non-UK vessels to fish in UK waters will be negotiated annually, as is standard practice in many cases between independent coastal states such as Norway, the Faroes or Iceland. We continue to engage with the EU constructively, but we will be making sure our position is understood. We will always defend our rights under international law, just as any other independent coastal state does.