SPANISH boats fishing off Scotland. Farmers earning millions of pounds a year without taking their slippers off in the morning. They became potent symbols of everything that is wrong with European integration.

But now those who tend the land and trawl the seas view Brexit with emotions ranging from unbridled excitement to trepidation.

Fishermen are largely enthusiastic about post-Brexit opportunities in contrast to many of their farming counterparts. They welcome the prospect of Scotland gaining significant levels of control over agriculture and fishing policy.

Fishing’s Euroscepticism is well established. The Scottish fleet declined during Britain’s time in Europe. The 2007 workforce of 4,408 fishermen regularly employed on Scottish-based fishing boats was approximately half the number working in the early-1970s when Britain joined the European Economic Community.

The number of fishing boats longer than 10 metres was 1,318 in 1990, and only 583 in 2014.

As the numbers of boats fell, the European Commission exerted more and more control over catches to conserve fish stocks that scientists warned were at risk.

Then there were the other European boats. The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation cites recent figures produced by the North Atlantic Fisheries College in Shetland, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands. They have revealed that, on average from 2012 to 2014, fishing boats from other EU countries caught 58 per cent of the fish and shellfish landed from the UK’s 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

Although the system of agricultural subsidies that helps sustain Scottish farms is viewed as not working particularly well, many farmers and crofters deeply fear the loss of payments will be compounded by exiting the single market.

Farms that rely on European nationals to work on harvests – from daffodils to raspberries – view curbs on free movement of labour as potentially disastrous.

Farm incomes have been falling and were estimated to be £667 million in 2015. The union NFU Scotland said it is “sobering” that some 74 per cent of that figure equates to the amount of support Scottish agriculture receives.

It warns that any reduction in European Common Agriculture Policy payments could render many farms completely unviable.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s non-whisky food exports to the EU were worth £724m in 2015, more than two-thirds of the total sold outside the UK, underlining the importance of the single market to farmers.

Europe was already taking action against the “slipper farmers” who have been buying farms for their subsidy entitlement before letting the land out to tenant farmers.

The Scottish farmers union is clear that agricultural support must reflect activity but it is equally adamant that continued direct support for active farmers and crofters is vital if communities are to be sustained.

A spokesman for NFU Scotland said: “It is a way of life, as much a part of the social and cultural fabric as it is part of the economic infrastructure.

“Maintaining communities through farming and crofting is more significant in Scotland than it is in other parts of the UK.”

Scottish Crofting Federation chief executive Patrick Krause also has deep concerns: “Without a European Commission, who will protect the interests of the remote areas, the environment and the smaller producer in the UK, let alone Scotland?

“Certainly not Westminster.”