New Clause 8 - Agency arrangements between sea fish licensing authorities

Part of Fisheries Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 13th October 2020.

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Photo of Stephanie Peacock Stephanie Peacock Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 6:30 pm, 13th October 2020

I rise to speak to the amendments that stand in my name and the name of the shadow Environment Secretary, my hon. Friend Luke Pollard. I begin by paying tribute to the six fishers who went to work last year and tragically did not return home.

For the Opposition, today’s debate is focused on two simple questions. First, how committed are this Conservative Government to sustainable fishing, and secondly, do this Government really care about jobs in coastal communities? I believe Labour’s amendments to this Bill make it stronger. Amendment 1 increases seafood landings into UK ports and calls for the majority of fish caught in English waters to be landed in English ports. Amendment 2 makes the sustainability objective the prime objective of the Bill and means that environmental sustainability will be considered in the short and the long term. Amendment 3 bans supertrawlers from vulnerable marine habitats and conservation zones.

Our amendments close the gap between what the Conservatives have promised to do and this Bill, because right now the Fisheries Bill does not make good on the Government’s commitments to fishers, coastal communities or voters concerned about the environment. Today, the Government have announced three consultations into how to split additional quota from EU negotiations, the allocation of quotas for new entrants to the sector and attaching licensing additions to vessels so that British fish is landed in British ports. Those are matters that have been repeatedly voted against in the Bill Committee. We do, of course, welcome their apparent adoption of Labour policy today, but consulting on something is not the same as taking action. We want the Government to make good on their promises to voters, not simply to pay lip service by announcing consultations on the day this Bill is considered on Report.