It is vital that we make the most of the opportunity leaving the EU offers us to take back control of our waters. I am disappointed the EU would not accept the UK Government's proposal that, during the implementation period, we would sit in annual quota negotiations alongside other coastal states as an equal partner. The Government made that case after full consultation with fisheries industry representatives, and pressed hard in trying to secure it.
The negotiating team's hard work did, however, secure the reassurance that the UK's share of quotas will not change during the implementation period, and that the UK can attend international negotiations and be consulted. There is also an obligation on both sides to act in good faith, which any EU attempts to act in a way that harmed our fishing industry would breach.
We must not lose sight of the fact that these arrangements will only apply to negotiations in December 2019, when fishing opportunities will be decided for 2020. The following year we will be negotiating fishing opportunities as a third country and independent coastal state, deciding who can access our waters and on what terms for the first time in over 40 years.
The implementation period will allow us to make a proper transition to a future outside the Common Fisheries Policy. It will give us time to prepare ourselves to take full advantage of the opportunities for our coastal communities to revive economically, and for our marine environment to be managed sustainably. That is a significant prize, and I believe we must keep our eyes on it.