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My Lords, I fully understand why this amendment has been tabled and, emotionally, I warm to it. On the other hand, I have spent my life in both Houses looking at the legal implications of the laws that we propose. I am guided by the fact that, as I understand it, this is framework legislation, which means that we are working within a broad framework out of which, I imagine, will flow statutory instruments. The noble Lord, Lord McConnell, quite rightly raised the fact that Scottish fishing is undoubtedly the largest part of the UK’s fishing industry and that this is a matter that has been devolved to that authority. Rightly, he asked whether the word “consultation” is correct in relation to devolved countries or whether the words used should be “agree with”.
There are other dimensions to this issue. I love the east coast of England. I also love going down to Cornwall and Devon, and am hoping to go there this summer. Nevertheless, I am not aware that at the moment many of our ports are particularly well equipped to handle the larger trawlers, which are the most efficient ones, and you can understand why. UK boats are fishing only 40% of the catches. I do not have the information but I would like to know a little more about Norway, which as a country is a good friend of ours. Norwegian vessels account for 80% of the catch in Norwegian waters. We have a long way to go to get to that point. We have just heard from one noble Lord that a significant number of our large trawlers go to Norway.
Although I understand why this amendment has been tabled, I think that the clause it would introduce is a little overcomplicated. I am not at all sure that 65% is the right figure—quite frankly, it might be too low. Therefore, at this point, I would like to reserve my position and listen to my noble friend on the Front Bench.