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New Clause 2 — Power to enter into agreements with eligible bodies

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 26th October 2009.

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Photo of Martin Salter Martin Salter Labour, Reading West 4:15 pm, 26th October 2009

I thank the hon. Gentleman, for whose support in Committee on this matter I was grateful. The reason why it is not possible to draw a defined line on the map, and why we must have definitions of the upstream limits of commercial fishing interests, is that those limits vary from estuary to estuary. On the River Humber, for example, the commercial fishing interest is many miles upstream, whereas on many other estuaries, particularly on the south coast, it is barely upstream at all. The decision has to be made on a case-by-case basis. Our debate in Committee was excellent and instructive about how Parliament can apply its collective knowledge to that difficult and not easily surmountable problem.

I obviously support the Government's proposals, as they are based on the points that we raised in Committee. The power to delegate to the Environment Agency is the obvious route forward, and there could be other delegations if appropriate. I say to Bill Wiggin that it is slightly bonkers to query a delegation to the EA on freshwater fishery management, given that it is the agency responsible for that. We are not likely to delegate the matter to the United Nations or anybody else. That might explain why he is no longer the Opposition spokesman.

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