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

When it comes to individual species, we will follow the scientific advice that CEFAS and others give us. Overall, however, as we take back control we will have the opportunity to catch more fish in our own waters. The majority of the fish that are caught in UK waters are not caught by UK vessels. Let me give the hon. Gentleman one example. I do not know whether he knows what percentage of cod caught in the English channel is caught by French boats—I do not know whether anyone in the House does—but it is 83%. What percentage of cod caught in the English channel is caught by UK vessels? Just 7%. That is a fundamental inequity in the allocation of national resources. The Bill will allow us to decide who catches what and where, and in line with which environmental principles.

It is not often that a piece of legislation comes before the House that provides us with an opportunity to say to some of the most fragile communities in our country, our coastal communities, “There is real hope and a chance of an economic renaissance. Your suffering has been recognised and we can make a positive difference.” It is not often that legislation comes before the House that, if passed, would see an industry potentially double in size and in its capacity to generate new jobs and new economic opportunities. It is very, very rare that legislation that comes before the House achieves such social and economic goals and at the same time allows this country to underline its credentials as a leader in environmental practice of a kind that other countries would wish to emulate. Not only does this Fisheries Bill manage to bring hope to coastal communities and to reinforce the economic gains of leaving the European Union, but it underlines our credentials as an environmental leader, which is why I commend the legislation to the House.