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Amendment 29

Part of Fisheries Bill [HL] - Report (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Naseby Lord Naseby Conservative 3:45 pm, 24th June 2020

My Lords, for better or worse, I read economics at Cambridge. I remember the lectures on competition policy—I looked them up prior to this debate.

It seems that we are lacking in evidence at the moment. Presumably, we need to establish the capacity of the current under-10-metre fleet to take up the extra quotas that will be available. Sitting here, I do not know what proportion of the new quotas that will come to UK fishing can be met by the current under-10-metre fishing fleet; perhaps the Minister can tell us. That is important, really. People cast aside the idea of super-efficient shipping, but at any level, you must have a viable shipping and fishing industry. It does not matter whether it is under 10 metres or over 10 metres. The last thing that any of us would want to see—perhaps that is a little too sweeping but I do not think that many of us would want to see it—is a situation where we have to subsidise 10-metre fishing boats from general taxation.

What ought to happen is that there should be an opportunity for new entrants and perhaps we should give priority to under-10-metre fishing boats. However, I want to see them pitch for the business and tell those who are to adjudicate why they are going into the industry, what they think they can bring to the industry and whether they are able to fish successfully. We do not want a quasi-monopoly without looking at the economics of the thing. I hate the word subsidy. One of the great things that we have gotten rid of in this country is subsidising parts of British industry.

For me, there is an opportunity for Brexit, obviously. Perhaps a proportion of the new quotas should go to the under-10-metre new entrants, but whoever comes forward must make a pitch to the authorities as to why and how they will succeed. At the moment, I do not think that that needs to be written in hard wording after Clause 25, but I will listen with great interest to what my noble friend on the Front Bench says on this amendment.