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Amendment 29

Part of Fisheries Bill [HL] - Report (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of The Earl of Caithness The Earl of Caithness Conservative 4:00 pm, 24th June 2020

My Lords, I am very grateful for the clear way in which the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, introduced this amendment. That was helpful.

I have a concern about the word “entrants” in the amendment. We are talking about a fishing industry which comprises both crew and owners. In 2018 the Seafish review put the average age of crew at about 38 and of owners at about 50. Surely we are trying to get more boats and therefore more owners, who will then employ more crew, into our fishing fleet. I particularly welcome the idea of the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, of focusing on helping boats of under 10 metres, but that will all depend on the economic viability of fishing. If fishing is not a viable, sustainable industry, there will be no owners wanting quotas and, as a result, no crew employed. That will have a detrimental effect on coastal areas, as we have already discussed.

The quota system, which is how the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, is attacking the issue in this amendment, is perhaps not as beneficial for increasing the overall ability for new entrants to come into the industry as another way might be. I do not know quite what that way is, and I will rely on my noble friend Lord Gardiner to help me with that, but focusing on the new entrants will not be as beneficial because the quota belongs to the boat owner.