Amendment 77A

Part of Fisheries Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day) – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 9th March 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Young of Old Scone Baroness Young of Old Scone Labour 3:45 pm, 9th March 2020

My Lords, I thank my noble friend and speak to Amendment 112 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, to which I put my name—although I may now regret it, since he poked me in the eye. I will also speak to Amendment 124 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Krebs. I will not repeat the arguments, which both noble Lords made so eloquently and passionately.

What is the Government’s stance on remote electronic monitoring with cameras being brought on to all vessels fishing in UK waters? Noble Lords have heard the reasons: we need to capture data on non-target and protected species and on the bycatch and discards regime, as well as better data on fish stocks to inform scientific assessments; there needs to be effective monitoring and enforcement of fisheries measures and legislative requirements; and it would provide very useful information on vessel location. The current fisheries management system is lacking in effective measures for accurately collecting data on what is caught, and lacks robust monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. That seems really strange in the context of the UK priding itself as a global leader in technological progress.

We can hardly stand as a world leader in the white heat of technology if we cannot see a better way of producing that data, that monitoring and that enforcement without the current stone-age solution of human observers going on to vessels and monitoring only 1% of what vessels catch—and of log books, and of surface and aerial patrols. It is really not a 21st-century solution. What improved system do the Government intend to introduce for all these purposes, which are absolutely vital in the context of our running an effective fisheries management policy, if not remote electronic monitoring with cameras on board all vessels fishing in our waters?