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Amendment 22

Part of Fisheries Bill [HL] - Report (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 2:00 pm on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Krebs Lord Krebs Chair, Food, Poverty, Health and Environment Committee, Chair, Food, Poverty, Health and Environment Committee 2:00 pm, 24th June 2020

My Lords, I will speak briefly in support of the amendment. I have little to add to the excellent introduction by the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch.

When preparing to speak to this amendment, I looked to see where fish caught in UK waters are currently landed, and I hope that the Minister, in his reply, will correct me if my figures are wrong. According to the Marine Management Organisation, UK vessels harvest about 80% of their catch in UK waters. However, in the first three months of 2020, only about half their total catch of just under 200,000 tonnes was landed in the UK. According to MMO figures, vessels from other EU countries catch 35% of their fish in UK waters, but they landed just under 9,000 tonnes in the UK in the first three months of 2020.

Although there is a licence condition called the economic link, already referred to by the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, which aims to support the coastal communities, it does not require landing more than 50% of the vessel’s catch in the UK. It is true that there are other ways of showing an economic link, including at least 50% of the crew being UK-based, sourcing goods and services in the UK, or supporting UK coastal communities in other ways. However, as the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, said, the Bill is an opportunity for the Government to further enhance the support for the future thriving coastal communities that we all wish to seek. I very much hope that noble Lords will support the amendment if it goes to a Division.