Amendment 77A

Part of Fisheries Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day) – in the House of Lords at 3:30 pm on 9th March 2020.

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Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Conservative 3:30 pm, 9th March 2020

My Lords, in moving Amendment 77A, I will speak also to Amendment 80A. I also have a few comments on Amendment 124 from the noble Lord, Lord Krebs, which seems very sensible.

The Minister will recall my concerns on earlier clauses as to how policies such as discard charging schemes and other items will be policed. I have tabled these two amendments as a way of allowing me to debate these issues. In particular, I understand that it is quite possible—this was not news to my noble friend and other noble Lords—that a Scottish fisheries Bill may be introduced. While I understand that Clauses 15 and 17 will apply to the whole of the United Kingdom, is the discard charging scheme intended to apply only to English boats or also to foreign boats operating in UK waters? In that case, Scottish boats would be included as well. How will REM—the remote electronic monitoring—work? Is it envisaged that cameras will be included in all cases? Will it be a mandatory scheme? Will it be a statutory provision of the licence that British fishing boats under Clause 15 or foreign boats under Clause 17 require as to how it will apply? I do not see how the scheme will work if it is not mandatory and does not include cameras.

As my noble friend is aware, I am particularly exercised about the discard charging scheme. I would have preferred the original government policy, which clearly pointed to complete elimination. The purpose of these amendments is to allow my noble friend to explain how it will operate in practice. Will it apply to all British boats or only to English boats? What will the relationship be if the Scottish Parliament passes a separate fisheries Bill, and what will our relationship be with foreign fishing vessels? Will they be put on exactly the same footing and will it be a mandatory scheme? Which clauses will it apply to?

In Amendment 124, the noble Lord, Lord Krebs, is doing something not dissimilar to what I am doing. He too refers to remote electronic monitoring with cameras, which, unless my noble friend can put my mind at rest about how any remote electronic scheme could work without cameras, I am keen on. Can the noble Lord tell me why he seeks to phase this in? I am much more at one with the Government, unless I have misunderstood the drafting of his amendment, which talks about this being phased in. I hope my noble friend insists that this is brought in immediately as a provision of the licencing regulatory regime.