Fishermen gathered off the coast of Weymouth protesting against fishing arrangements under Brexit.

Around 20 boats converged at Weymouth Harbour yesterday afternoon to protest against the Brexit transition deal for fishing with some setting off flares and rockets.

Those protesting included Andy Alcock, secretary of the Weymouth and Portland Licensed Fishermen’s and Boatmen’s Association.

Fishermen from across Weymouth said the protest will help get the message out that the UK government is leaving the fishing industry ‘vulnerable to being exploited’ after they struck a transition deal that will see European Union policy stay in force.

Currently, when Britain leaves the EU on March 29 next year, a 21-month transition deal kicks in – meaning that Britain will stay within the Common Fisheries Policy but without a say on how it is run.

The Common Fisheries Policy gives all European fishing fleets access to EU waters however British fishers say waters must be returned to ensure the sustainability of fishing communities in the UK.

The demonstration was part of a wider protest held at the same time as others across the country including in Portsmouth, Plymouth and Hastings.

Aaron Banks, spokesman for campaign group Fishing for Leave, who coordinated the series of protests, said: "The EU will be free to enforce and impose detrimental rules on us to cull what’s left of the UK fleet.

"Brexit creates a golden opportunity to regain 70 per cent of the UK’s fisheries resources and rejuvenate a multi-billion pound industry for the nation – becoming as sustainable and successful as Norway, Iceland and Faroe."

Jamie Pullin who has been a fisherman in Weymouth for almost two decades said the fear was that the EU intends to shrink Britain’s fishing fleet.

He added that because of the EU, he has lost around £40,000 in revenue every year.

In response, a spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that the UK will be a full member state for the negotiations at the December Fisheries Council in 2018.

He added: "Rules agreed will apply for the whole of 2019. By December 2020 we will be negotiating fishing opportunities for 2021 as a third country and independent coastal state completely outside the Common Fisheries Policy.

"Any agreement made will include an obligation on both sides to act in good faith during the period of the implementation period however any attempt by the EU to operate in a way which would harm the fishing industry would breach that obligation.

"During the implementation period, current access arrangements will continue.

"The UK will continue to control access to its territorial waters subject to any specific access provided for in current EU rules."