Emiel Brouckaert, the director of the Rederscentrale fisherman’s organisation in Ostend, Belgium, said: “We want access, the same splits on quotas and to keep trade. The comments by the environment secretary are very positive and are heading in that direction.”
A Defra spokesman said: “Leaving the EU means we will take back control of our territorial waters. As we have always said, other countries will be able to access to our waters – but for the first time in 50 years it will be on our terms and under our control.
“We will allocate quotas on the basis of what is scientifically sustainable, making sure we have a healthy marine environment and profitable fishing industry in the UK.”
Dale Rodmell, the assistant chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, said that any future deal must end the “unfair” EU quota system.
European boats landed more than half of the fish taken from British waters, he said, extracting four times the value of the catch allowed for the British fleet.
He told The Times: “Addressing this imbalance is essential. That is not saying no access to the European fishing fleet but recognising that it must be on the basis of fairer and reciprocal returns.”