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Volume 671: debated on Wednesday 12 February 2020

Thank you very much. I am busy today, Mr Speaker.

At the end of 2020, we automatically take control of our waters. This opens up a sea of opportunity for our fishing industry in Scotland, and across the UK. As I have said before, this Government will work tirelessly with our fishermen and coastal communities across Scotland.

Can my hon. Friend confirm that by becoming an independent coastal state once again we will be able to deliver a better deal for fishermen across the United Kingdom and that ultimately we will control who fishes in our waters?

I can confirm that we will no longer be bound by the EU’s outdated and unfair method for sharing fishing opportunities. We will set our own fishing quotas, based on science, and decide who can fish in our waters. I share my hon. Friend’s optimism for the future of our industry, and it is an optimism that I have heard time and again from fishermen and fishing communities the length and breadth of Scotland.

Can the Secretary of State reveal whether the UK Government’s stated intention of agreeing a mechanism of co-operation within the EU on fishing will include an extended agreement on access to waters as part of an EU trade deal?

Clearly, we are in discussions about this, but we have a positive vision for our fishing industry in Scotland now that we have left the European Union. How does that reflect on the SNP’s vision for fishing in Scotland, which is to take us back into the European Union, to be shackled once again by the common fisheries policy? That is something that many Scots and many fishermen voted comprehensively to leave, but the SNP wants to put us right back in.