The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has published a private letter received from UK Secretary of State Andrea Leadsom following a meeting with the Minister in March, after extracts were leaked to the media.
In the letter Ms Leadsom says fisheries will be “a key area in the EU Exit negotiations” and that the government has a ‘once in a generation’ chance to regenerate UK fishing grounds and improve the conditions under which they are fished.
The letter continues: “We are currently analysing all EU fisheries legislation.
“No decision has yet been made on the extent to which the EU legislation governing the Common Fisheries Policy will be incorporated into domestic law.
“However, as we leave we will look to disapply the key elements of the CFP that are most unpopular and unworkable for the UK as a coastal state, including those on mutual access and EU-level quota setting. It is essential that we take the opportunity to develop a fisheries regime that is better suited to our seas and industries.”
She states that the government will continue to champion sustainable fisheries and is committted to onoging cooperation with other countries over the management of shared stocks and ending discaqrds.
“We are considering the issue of the London Fisheries Convention carefully to ensure we have full control of UK waters after we leave the EU and, as the Prime Minister said on March 29, 2017, we hope to be able to say something on this point soon,” she says.
She adds: “I have greatly welcomed the information and ideas that many stakeholder groups have provided us with and I would encourage you to continue doing so.
“I have asked my officials to step up the level of engagement with stakeholders over the coming weeks and months of the future fisheries.
“I hope this reassures you of the commitment that I and my Department has in ensuring we deliver the best possible outcome for the UK fishing industry as we leave the EU.”
Commenting on the letter, SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: “Any reading of this letter in full makes it clear that the UK government is committed to ensuring we exit the CFP and re-assert control of our waters.
“In fact, at our meeting with Ms Leadsom in March she said that we are leaving the EU and we are leaving the CFP.
“It is evident that the government shares the determination of the entire industry to seize this opportunity to re-generate our coastal communities.”