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My Lords, in any business it is important to ensure that the industry is constantly refreshed by new blood and thus new ideas and new ways of working. The difficulty of acquiring a fishing quota is one of the very obvious reasons why we now have so few young people entering the fishing industry, as the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, said. If you couple that fact with the statistic that under-10-metre boats currently represent some 74% of the UK fishing fleet and employ some 50% of the workforce with only 6% of the quota, it is obvious that any spare quota should disproportionately be allocated to the smaller inshore fleet and to new entrants. Denmark has run a very successful fish fund for several years now, which is used to help young fishers get started and to act as an environmental buffer. Equally, the Shetland Islands Council owns a substantial amount of quota, which it leases to local fishers. Thus we have two very good but different examples to follow, one a national scheme and one a local scheme. In might be possible, in England at any rate, to combine the two and have a national reserve scheme in which grants of quota could be administered on a more local basis by, say, the local inshore fisheries and conservation authority—the local IFCA.
One of the important purposes of such a national reserve, as far as I am concerned, is perhaps not emphasised enough in the amendment. It is to create an environmental buffer for the Government to help manage the landing obligation to deal with the problem of choke species and the deficiencies in the maximum sustainable yield system.
With that in mind, I note that the Secretary of State, when he was Fisheries Minister and spoke in Committee in the other place, spoke about putting in place just what we are talking about—that is, creating an inshore pool to give extra fishing opportunities to our smaller inshore fleet while at the same time creating a national reserve.
I look forward to the Minister’s response to this amendment. I hope that he will be able to follow in the footsteps of his Secretary of State and give us this important dividend that we hope to achieve from being in control of our fisheries.