Fisheries Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:26 pm on 21st November 2018.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2:26 pm, 21st November 2018

No, not at this point.

We will introduce, as New Zealand, Norway and other nations have, an approach that means that fishermen can catch and can land, but if they exceed the discard ban, they will pay a penalty. That will ensure that we have a sustainable approach to fisheries, that we enable fishermen to carry on going to sea, and that we combine their economic resilience with the environmental resilience of the stocks that we wish to preserve. That change is an example of how we can change individual common fisheries policy rules and regulations by giving effect to the Bill and the framework that it will provide. It is clear from all the representative fisheries organisations that they recognise that individual aspects of the CFP need remedial action and reform. That can happen only if we allow the Bill to pass, which is why it is so important that it makes a speedy passage through the House.

Another point made by several hon. Friends and hon. Members is about the importance of protecting not only diversity at sea but diversity in the fishing industry itself. We need to ensure not only that the pelagic fleets that sail from Peterhead and Fraserburgh have new opportunities, but that those that fish closer to coastal waters—often, the under-10 metre fleets that colleagues have praised—have an opportunity to take advantage of new opportunities. As a result of this legislation, we will have additional quota that we can reallocate in a way that is equitable, fair and sustainable.