A DREAM deal for fishermen after Brexit would be worth an additional £540 million to Scotland and create 5,000 jobs, new research suggests.

A report commissioned by Marine Scotland found securing free trade with the EU and the rest of the world and enhanced fishing quotas would substantially boost Scotland’s economic output.

But the review – which also modelled three other post-Brexit scenarios – did not consider the likelihood of achieving such an agreement, and it was dismissed as “the least likely or plausible” outcome by the Scottish Government.

Researchers found the worst-case scenario – which assumes no preferential trade agreements with the EU and the rest of the world, and no increases in UK fishing quotas – would lead to an £85m economic hit and the loss of 429 jobs.

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said the modelling “highlights the complexities of Brexit for our seafood industry and in the absence of full EU membership, maintaining membership of the European single market and remaining in a customs union is the ‘least worst’ outcome for our fishing, aquaculture and processing sectors”.

He added: “The report also suggests that there is unlikely to be an immediate gain for the fishing industry with any quota increases for the fleet only likely to be achieved through international agreement following negotiation over time with coastal state partners, and those economic gains could be reduced through the impact of tariffs on trade.”

Of the four scenarios modelled, the Scottish Government favoured a deal similar to Norway’s agreement with the EU, which would allow for enhanced fishing quotas.

This would involve leaving the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) but staying in the European single market through European Economic Area membership.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, said: “This report simply underlines the importance of the UK regaining sovereignty over its own waters and becoming an independent coastal state with the powers to control access and fishing opportunity.

“For Scotland that could be worth an additional £540m in income and create 5,000 more jobs in the sector, it says.

“Any other course of action would be harmful to the fishing industry and, given its importance to coastal communities – again as highlighted in the report – that would be totally unacceptable.

“There are challenges ahead in securing these aims, of that there is no doubt. But in light of the potential bonanza, we would urge politicians of all parties to press both the UK and Scottish governments to work together to support the aims and objectives of the fishing industry."

David Duguid, the Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan, insisted it was “no surprise that the SNP are choosing to focus on the worst possible outcomes”.

He added: “Even in a worst-case scenario, it is clear there are huge opportunities for our fishing sector. Industry leaders could not be more clear. They want an end to the brinkmanship and they want to see our two governments working together."