The UK has begun its withdrawal from an international fishing treatise which would allow EU vessels to continue to fish in British waters after its split from Brussels, it was announced on Sunday 2 July.
The Conservative government said it will quit the London Fisheries Convention in two year's time to coincide with Brexit. The 1964 agreement, signed before the UK joined the European Common Market in 1973, allows boats from Britain, France, Belgium, Ireland, Germany and Holland to fish up to 12 miles from each other's coasts.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove, the son of a Scottish fisherman, said: "This is an historic first step towards building a new domestic fishing policy as we leave the European Union – one which leads to a more competitive, profitable and sustainable industry for the whole of the UK."
The government, as announced in the Queen's Speech, plans to introduce a Fisheries Bill to control access to the UK's waters and set fishing quotas after Brexit. The Conservatives also plan to quit the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which allows vessels from the 27 other nations to access up to 200 nautical miles of British waters.
Pressure group Fishing for Leave, which organised a pro-Brexit flotilla on the Thames during the EU referendum campaign in 2016, welcomed the decision to quit the London Fisheries Convention.
"This is a first small step of an acid tests of Brexit in escaping from the situation of the EU having unlimited equal access to catch 60% of the fisheries resources in our waters," said Alan Hastings, a spokesman for the organisation.
The University of Dundee's Professor Robin Churchill told the House of Lords' European Union Committee in 2016 that the treatise had worked to the detriment of Britain. "The UK only has rights in five areas of coast, whereas I think there are 32 areas of the British coast where other states can fish," he said.
The government estimated that 10,000 tonnes of fish, including mackerel and herring, was caught by fishing vessels from the London Fisheries Convention countries France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands in 2015 within 12 nautical miles of the British coast – worth around £17m ($22m).
Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, added: "This is welcome news and an important part of establishing the UK as an independent coastal state with sovereignty over its own exclusive economic zone."