David Davis announced last week that Britain will effectively remain in the Commons Fisheries Policy until the end of 2020 as part of Brexit transitional arrangements.
That led to fury from Brexiteers and people in the industry, with a protest on the River Thames and accusations the industry was being sold out again.
During an appearance before the Commons Liaison Committee, the Prime Minister was probed about the concerns of the fishing industry that they could be “negotiated away” in the final EU deal.
Neil Parish told the Prime Minister: “Fishermen expect to get our fishing rights back.
“They felt they were carved up as you’ve said back in the 70s and I think they don’t mind altogether waiting as long as they’re not going to be negotiated away again when it comes to a final deal with Europe.
“We must get ourselves into an independent coastal state and be ready to run our own fish.
“Can we have those absolute reassurances?”
Mrs May replied: “We will be an independent coastal state.
“What we’re going to be doing and what the secretary of state will be doing is discussions with the fishing industry across the UK about the concerns they’ve had in the past but also about what they want to see for the future.
“What are the rules, what are the ways of operating that are actually going to enable us to build our fishing industry?“
Mr Parish challenged her again, asking for a guarantee that on January 21 2021, after the end of the transition period, the UK would have control of fishing waters and be an independent coastal state.
Mrs May replied: “For the 2021 catch we will have been part of the negotiations as part of an independent coastal state.”
She insisted the Government wanted to rebuild the fishing industry including the fish processing industry and said she understood the anger of fishermen over the way they had been sacrificed when the UK first joined Europe.
Mr Davis’ announcement on fishing led to a series of angry responses last week.
MEP David Coburn raged: “We want control of our fishing waters now.
“There is absolutely no reason why not. The Conservatives bargained away our fishing grounds when we went into the European Union in the first place.
“Now they are bargaining them away when we are leaving.
“It’s not on. Scottish fishermen will not put up with it, I will not put up with it as an MEP for Scotland.”
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage helped hurl four boxes of fresh haddock into the river at the foot of the Houses of Parliament in the protest last week.
He said: “We were promised when we leave the European Union we would get back control of our borders, it was in the Tory manifesto. I queried the wording at the time, but I was assured it’s all going to be good.
“We’ve now been kicked into the long grass for a further 21 months but with absolutely no assurance at all that, even after that period, they are going to do the right thing.”