New Clause 8 - Agency arrangements between sea fish licensing authorities

Part of Fisheries Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 13th October 2020.

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Photo of Stephanie Peacock Stephanie Peacock Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 6:45 pm, 13th October 2020

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his important point. I am sure he will be interested to know that the British Ports Association does indeed support Labour’s amendments this evening. That is because Labour’s amendments would ensure that fisheries management decisions are made through the lens of environmental sustainability, which will result in long and short-term benefits. It will result in a more resilient and productive marine ecosystem and lead to increased long-term catches, industry profits and benefits for coastal communities. Will the Minister give an assurance tonight, on the Floor of the House, that decisions made in relation to fisheries management will not compromise environmental sustainability in the short and long term, which, as she knows, is set out in the Bill?

Let me move on to amendment 3, which prohibits vessels greater than 100 metres in length from marine conservation zones and protected areas in English waters. These were defined in the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. A Greenpeace investigation has revealed that, last year, supertrawlers, industrial vessels longer than 100 metres that hoover up hundreds of tonnes of fish a day, spent nearly 3,000 hours fishing in parts of UK waters that are supposed to be protected. These areas were created with the purpose of safeguarding vulnerable marine habitats and iconic species such as dolphins, yet in the first six months of 2020, supertrawler activity in marine protected areas was almost double that of the whole of last year.