Amendment 76ZA

Part of Fisheries Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day) – in the House of Lords at 3:10 pm on 9th March 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Conservative 3:10 pm, 9th March 2020

My Lords, in moving Amendment 76ZA, I shall speak also to Amendment 86 tabled by my noble friend the Duke of Montrose, who is unable to be with us today. I have added my name to his amendment as well.

I turn first to Amendment 76ZA and I shall refer in particular to Clause 14(1) and (2). My concern is that it appears that subsection (2) actually countermands and completely detracts from subsection (1). I am raising this specifically in the context of fishing,

“for salmon or migratory trout … for common eels (Anguilla Anguilla) by a boat whose length is 10 metres or less”

I am sure that my noble friend the Minister will clarify that, in both those paragraphs, such fishing is usually for recreational purposes. I am sure that it is not the Government’s intention to stop subsection (1) applying to subsection (2), but I have information on good authority that ICES is very concerned about European eel, as stocks throughout the UK and the rest of Europe are in serious difficulties. Because eel spawns at sea, it is considered to be a single stock, so it needs to be addressed in an international context.

My noble friend will be aware that I have raised the issue of salmon stocks in the context of allowing more of the quota to go to the under-10 metre fishing fleet. Salmon is considered on a river by river basis because it spawns in rivers. Both species undergo major migrations, but effectively in opposite directions.

I hope that my noble friend will be able to clarify why subsection (2) has been drafted in this way because, if the two derogations were to be used in the way provided for here, we will end up with unregulated marine fisheries in which these already depleted stocks will create additional problems, so I hope that my noble friend can put my mind at rest on this. I understand that the Government are committed to taking the figures from ICES, so by definition they will be fairly gospel. They will be accurate because our own national authorities are feeding into the research in this regard.

I know that the Minister has been given advance notice of the reason that my noble friend the Duke of Montrose has tabled Amendment 86. It is in order to insist that the authority may require information only where such information is reasonably needed for the exercise of its function. The reason is that we do not wish for information to be received which the Government have no right to receive. I understand that, in the Government’s view, this amendment is not necessary. In the department’s view, the power to request information is related to the exercise of licensing functions, and data protection legislation provides that information may be collected only for legitimate purposes. We seek to insist that this is information relevant to the very needs of the licence. No reference is made within the schedule to the reinstatement of the licence, but we would like that information included. With that clarification, I hope my noble friend will look kindly on Amendment 86 to Schedule 3 as allowing such powers to obtain information relating only to information relevant to the purposes of the licence to be issued.

With those few remarks, I hope my noble friend will look kindly on those two amendments.