New Clause 8 - Agency arrangements between sea fish licensing authorities

Part of Fisheries Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 9:00 pm on 13th October 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 9:00 pm, 13th October 2020

Well, the Chairman of the Select Committee, my hon. Friend Neil Parish, told us to eat more fish. That should not be difficult with Arbroath smokies, Strangford prawns and buying local in Totnes. Even Wokingham is very keen to eat lots and lots more British fish. Chislehurst has a fish union and Holyhead is willing to sell it shellfish—it’ll be great.

Stephanie Peacock said that she was concerned that we would not actually act—that we would just consult. I reassure her that consulting is a precursor to action. We will consult on the economic link for four weeks. We will announce our new policy by the end of the year. We will give the industry a year to adapt and the changes will come in in 2022.

Matt Rodda, who is no longer in his place, was concerned about coastal communities. I can tell him that we have invested £228 million through the coastal communities fund, supporting projects that should create 20,000 new jobs very shortly.

Let me turn now to Deidre Brock. Many of the amendments to which she takes objection are at the behest of the Scottish Government. I say politely that new clause 3 is really not necessary. Seafish already publishes the information that is sought within it and lays its annual reports and accounts before this Parliament, and that information is widely available.

There were some emotional speeches, and rightly so, including from my hon. Friend Mrs Murray, who has spent 40 years campaigning for this historic moment, but is she stuck in the past? She is not. Yesterday, she launched an electric boat, which shows that there is a future for this exciting industry.

My hon. Friend Sir David Amess again spoke with experience and passion. My hon. Friend Andrea Jenkyns had a horrible experience during the debate and we send our love to her. Her defence of fishing made her grandfather and Yorkshire proud. My hon. Friend Derek Thomas also spoke emotionally. I encourage him to join in with our consultation process thoroughly.

I reassure my hon. Friend Scott Mann that clause 6(2)(c) gives him the flexibility that he seeks and I am looking forward to going fishing with him soon—if he ever asks me. My hon. Friend Douglas Ross stood up very, very soundly for the Scottish fishing industry and reminded us carefully that the Scottish Parliament has consented to this legislation. Mr Carmichael raised the very serious matter of the case that happened off Shetland. The correspondence to which he referred is part of the MCA correspondence, so I am not able to give him that, but what I would like to offer is to arrange a meeting between him, the MCA and the DFT to discuss this very important matter.

On the speech by hon. Member for Upper Bann (Carla Lockhart), DAERA asked for wider powers on conservation beyond the scope of this Bill. We are exploring the options for other appropriate routes if DAERA wants to continue to take that forward in the future—I am happy to take this offline with her. The hon. Members for Angus (Dave Doogan) and for Stirling (Alyn Smith) were concerned about the speed of lorry movements with fish and seafish on them. Seafood and day-old chicks do need priority care and access through the short straits and that is something that the Government recognise.

It was lovely to hear from the Cornish fishwife, my hon. Friend Cherilyn Mackrory, who gave us some real-life experience and made important points about labelling. I would not mind going on the trawler vessel with my hon. Friend Anthony Mangnall if he were to ask me. My hon. Friend Jacob Young supported marine protected areas and I was glad that I could answer his concerns on super-trawlers. To my hon. Friend Peter Aldous, I can say that the REAF report contains some interesting ideas that the Government will consider as part of our ongoing work on inshore fisheries.

At the end of this year, foreign vessels will not be able to pulse trawl.

On the PEC, I will continue to consult with my hon. Friend Sir Robert Neill and with the Lord Chancellor, to whom I have also spoken on this issue. I reassure the House that I will speak again to those in the Crown dependencies who are concerned by this step, which is not one I take at all lightly, but I have been persuaded that there is no other option. We are not intending to use the provision, but I think it is correct to have it in the Bill.

I thank all those who have scrutinised the Bill at both ends of this place. In particular, I thank my noble Friend Lord Gardiner. May his lines always be tight. Before today, we had spent 51 hours debating just this second version of the Bill, so I think it is fair to say that it has been well and thoroughly scrutinised. Thanks are also due to Lucy Cheeseman and Giulia Grierson, who are in the Box tonight, to parliamentary counsel, DEFRA officials and, indeed, all those from the devolved Administrations who have worked so hard on this Bill.

The Bill sets in stone our commitment to improving the health of our seas. It gives our fishermen the better future they need, and it is an opportunity to seize a once-in-a-generation chance to take back control of our natural resources and make sure we pass on healthier seas, which are abundant with life. The Fisheries Bill gives us the power we need to protect our fish stocks and help our seafood sector. It sets a gold standard for sustainability, and it allows us to bring fishing home. I commend it to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

New clause 8 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.