Key figures behind the Leave campaign had pledged Britain would be free to “take back control” over its waters after Brexit by scrapping the contentious common fisheries policy which grants foreign fleets fishing rights in UK waters.
The policy grants foreign vessels fishing rights between 12 and 200 nautical miles off the UK’s coastline, providing they abide by quotas set by the European Commission.
But the Government is now ready to capitulate to the European Union’s fishing policy demands on policy Monday in order to secure a transition deal, according to the Financial Times.
The draft agreement includes a clause stipulating the UK’s share of the “total catch” will stay the same until the end of the transition.
If signed, it would mean Britain’s quotas will remain exactly the same for around two years after March 2019.
A Government official insisted the PM and her team were “digging their heels in” and demanding the UK be allowed to determine which fishing vessels are allowed in British waters after Brexit.
But this demand has already been dismissed by European Union negotiators, with one describing the request as “wild”.
Environmental Secretary Michael Gove, a prominent voice in the Vote Leave campaign, has called for an immediate renegotiation of fishing quotas from March 2019, after Britain formally leaves the bloc and the transition begins.
But his ambitious plans for a revitalised fishing industry free from the shackles of EU regulation and with full control of British waters could be in doubt, at least for the next two years, if the Government concedes to the EU’s terms.
Mr Gove is reported to have expressed his concerns about Brussels’ demands on Tuesday (March 13) at a Brexit cabinet committee meeting.
A Government official was quoted as saying yesterday: “Negotiations on fish are continuing over the weekend but a landing zone is in sight thanks to significant movement on the part of the Commission.
“Michael Gove, David Davis and the PM have all helped by digging their heels in: that approach is behind vindicated.”
The European Commission is responsible for setting fishing quotas, or “total allowable catch”.
The authority says its totals are set to ensure sustainability by only allowing fishermen to catch a certain number of each species.