THE UK Government introduces legislation today to create the powers for Britain to operate as an independent coastal state post Brexit and manage its fish stocks in a sustainable way.

It comes just hours after the Scottish fishing industry fired a warning shot across the Government’s bows, making clear that a failure to secure full control over British waters post-Brexit would be a “colossal betrayal”.

The Fisheries Bill contains a legal guarantee that the UK will quit the EU-wide Common Fisheries Policy [CFP] at the end of the transition period in December 2020.

At present, the CFP dictates how much British fishermen can catch and where and fishermen have often complained they do not get a fair share of what is caught in UK waters.

The new legislation will end the automatic right of EU vessels to fish in British waters with access to fisheries set to be a matter for the UK to negotiate in the future.

Foreign vessels will have to be licensed and follow rules set by the UK if they fish in British waters.

The Bill's publication comes in the wake of a warning on Monday from Leo Varadkar that Brussels would look for a “trade-off”.

The Taoiseach said: “You may have to make concessions in areas like fishing…in order to get concessions from us in areas like financial services and that's why things tend to be all in the one package."

Last week, Charles Grant, the Director of the Centre for European Reform, told a Holyrood committee senior UK Government officials had indicated they would “trade-off” Scottish fishing to “get a better deal on financial services”.

But in his People’s PMQs from Downing St, Boris Johnson made clear there would be no quid pro quo regards fishing and financial services. The Prime Minister said: “We will make sure we don’t trade away Britain’s fishing rights as they were traded away for instance in the accession negotiations in the early 1970s. Be confident about fish.”

Nonetheless, Elspeth Macdonald, Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, pointed out there was still ill-feeling within the industry that it was let down badly when the UK joined the CFP in the 1970s. "Any failure to leave it on the right terms would be a colossal betrayal,” she insisted.

Theresa Villiers, the Environment Secretary, said: "This new Fisheries Bill takes back control of our waters, enabling the UK to create a sustainable, profitable fishing industry for our coastal communities, whilst securing the long-term health of British fisheries. Leaving the EU's failed Common Fisheries Policy is one of the most important benefits of Brexit.

"It means we can create a fairer system which will allow marine habitats to thrive, with new powers to support our fishing sector and conserve our wonderful Blue Belt at home and abroad," she added.