Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove has said leaving the common fisheries policy would mean more “money and jobs” for the north-east of Scotland.
Mr Gove said once the UK becomes an “independent coastal state”, it would get to decide how many overseas vessels would get to access UK waters.
Fishing is devolved to Holyrood; however, as the powers are transferred from the EU and the common fisheries policy to the UK after Brexit, it would initially be Westminster that would have the control over who could and could not enter for fishing.
Mr Gove was giving evidence on Thursday morning to Holyrood’s culture, tourism, Europe and external affairs committee.
He doubled down on the Conservative government’s decision not to ask for an extension to the Brexit transition, saying it could harm the country’s “post-Covid recovery”.
He said: “We can have full control of our exclusive economic zone, which means we can control who fishes in our waters and on what terms.
“At the moment it is the case other countries have significant access to our waters; we want to make sure we are an independent coastal state like Norway, Iceland and the Faroes.
“We can allow others in, on our terms.
“That would mean, as Scottish Government research has shown, more jobs and more money, particularly but not exclusively in the north-east of Scotland.
“It would mean we could manage stocks in a more environmentally friendly way.”
He added: “The logic of the Scottish Government’s decision to remain in the EU would mean being in the common fisheries policy.
“If at some future date — and I hope it doesn’t happen — there is an independent Scotland and it wanted to accede to EU membership, it would have to accept the CFP.
“Scotland would lose its territorial waters and under current terms Scotland would also have to agree to join the single currency, which would cause additional economic turbulence, not just for coastal communities but across Scotland.”
Labour leader backs further federalism
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer suggested a “radical federalism” could be undertaken by a future Labour government and suggested his party would not stand in the way of handing full control of fisheries policy to Holyrood.
Sir Keir said he was fully behind Scottish Labour Richard Leonard and the party’s stance on opposing a second referendum.
The member for Holburn and St Pancras spoke with Scottish journalists on Thursday afternoon, just minutes after sacking shadow education spokesperson Rebecca Long-Bailey for posting an anti-semitic Tweet.
Asked about Labour’s stance on the common fisheries policy, Mr Starmer said: “What the policy is to be in four years in terms of a relationship with the EU is a decision we will have to take closer to 2024.
“We don’t yet know what deal the government is going to come up with, the so-called oven-ready deal clearly isn’t ready.
“On fisheries generally, we are going to have to look across the UK how we take these decisions. They do hold ramifications for across the country.
“The principal which I hold dear is, decisions about people and communities should be made as close to them as possible. We need to invert the constitutional principle and make sure that is what happens.”
He added: “The argument we have to make is about radical federalism, about putting power closer to people and I don’t just mean in the Scottish Parliament, I mean beyond that, into local councils, into local communities.
“I do not believe breaking up the United Kingdom is the right thing to do, particularly when we are on the verge of an economic crisis, the like of which we have not seen for a generation.”
SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing said people had lost trust with what UK Government politicians were saying in their “tired messages”.
She said: “All recent studies have shown the forcible removal of Scotland from the single market and the EU would be hugely damaging for the economy.
“People did not vote to become poorer.
“The key issue of trust these days in politics is trust. People hear these tired messages (from Mr Gove) and they just do not believe them anymore.”