Britain has signed its first fisheries deal as an independent coastal state in more than 40 years.
The landmark agreement, signed with Norway, will mean the UK will hold annual negotiations on the issues of access to waters and quotas.
It marks a significant step forward as the UK prepares to leave the EU’s common fisheries policy at the end of December.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “I am delighted, the agreement is testament to our commitment to acting as a cooperative independent coastal state, seeking to ensure a sustainable and a prosperous future for the whole of the UK fishing industry.
“I pay tribute to our Norwegian counterparts for the constructive approach they adopted throughout these negotiations, and we look forward to working with them closely in the coming years.”
Each year the UK fishing fleet lands some £32 million worth of fish from Norwegian waters.
As Brexit talks enter their final round, fishing bosses have sent a friendly reminder to UK chief negotiator David Frost of the need to remain 'steadfast' in getting a good deal on 🐟 pic.twitter.com/uTtzmyYOyY
— Dan O'Donoghue (@MrDanDonoghue) September 30, 2020
In previous years, bilateral negotiations with Norway were led by the European Commission on behalf of the UK and other member states.
This autumn, for the first time in decades, the UK will be negotiating fishing opportunities for 2021 as an independent coastal state.
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said: “This is a hugely important agreement as the United Kingdom becomes a thriving independent coastal state.
“The agreement with Norway shows how constructive negotiations on fisheries can deliver results for Scotland’s fishermen.
“Fishing communities will be delighted and warmly welcome this productive step towards a brighter future.”