New Clause 8 - Agency arrangements between sea fish licensing authorities

Part of Fisheries Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 8:45 pm on 13th October 2020.

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Photo of Virginia Crosbie Virginia Crosbie Conservative, Ynys Môn 8:45 pm, 13th October 2020

It is a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend Derek Thomas. The common fisheries policy has been disastrous for the environment, fishing communities and our future generations. Those responsible in the EU have stood by and allowed chronic overfishing in British waters. That harms the biodiversity of our oceans and the economic viability of our coastal communities. It is now time to right the wrongs, and the Bill is a crucial first step.

Fishing is increasingly important to my island constituency of Ynys Môn. Sea fishing forms a major part of our tourism industry, with many chartered fishing boats operating around the island, as well as bait shops supplying those fishing off the rocks in places such as Aberffraw and Holyhead breakwater.

During the lockdown, we also saw some islanders live out their dreams of a career in Anglesey water. Sion Riley, a Royal Navy veteran, did not let a global pandemic halt his ambition of joining the fishing community. His new company, Holyhead Shellfish, is a favourite with local restaurants and wholesalers. I visited him last week, and he said to me, “Fishing is an important industry in our small but mighty island, but in order to protect the waters for future generations, we need effective management of fish stocks and investment in small businesses like my own. That is why I support the action being taken to ensure future generations can make their livelihoods off the beautiful Anglesey coast.”

The charity Môn CF in Holyhead helped Sion access funds for his boat, the Pan Arctic. Alun Roberts from Môn CF said, “Small business owners go out in all weathers to bring fresh catches to local markets, and a large proportion of produce is exported to countries all over the world.”

This historic Fisheries Bill carries many benefits for Wales. Equal access will be granted for all UK vessels to fish throughout UK waters and new powers will be granted to the devolved Administrations. The fisheries administrations will publish a joint fisheries statement setting out how common objectives will be met.

Importantly, this Government have learned from the mistakes of the common fisheries policy. Effective management is so important if we want fishing to be a viable career choice for our future generations. I had the pleasure of visiting Gary Thomas and Chris Pritchard, two Amlwch constituents who fish lobster, crab and whelks from their boat, the Boy James. They work tirelessly to provide fresh produce while also encouraging and inspiring the next generation of fishers. However, we must ensure that there are sufficient fish stocks to provide income if we want to keep those communities alive; that is why I am grateful to see the end of the common fisheries policy.

In conclusion, when I look back on my time as Member of Parliament for Ynys Môn, I want to know that I helped Sion to grow and strengthen Holyhead Shellfish, I want to know that Menai mussels have reliable stock for decades to come, and I want to ensure that those who come to our island will experience the joy of their first mackerel catch in the beautiful waters of Trearddur Bay.