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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 Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 4:00 pm, 24th June 2020

My Lords, like all industries, a vibrant fishing industry relies on a rotating workforce. Many families around our coastlines have been engaged in fishing for generations. Sons and occasionally daughters learn from their fathers and become part of the team. However, as we have heard, it is becoming increasingly difficult for new entrants and the under-10s to get a toehold in the industry and an allocation of quota to get started. The noble Lord, Lord Cameron, also pressed the case for fresh young blood in the fishing industry. The examples of Denmark and the Shetland Islands prove that it is possible to encourage new entrants.

For new entrants to feel confident that they can make a living out of fishing and for the under-10s to be able to put a roof over their heads in the much sought-after properties around fishing ports, quota will need to be reserved and increased to be allocated to this vital sector. The noble Lord, Lord Mann, asked whether the Government are happy for the profits of fishing to go to pension funds and shareholders or whether they want to support our coastal communities and young people waiting to move into fishing.

The noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, said in his introduction that this is a minor amendment for England only. When making amendments, the Secretary of State would consider the previous three years’ quota; it would provide a degree of certainty to new entrants and the under-10s. Fisheries plans should consider historic catch. The noble Lord, Lord Krebs, gave a graphic description of how the monthly quota system disadvantages the under-10 fleet. It is time for a change.

My noble friend Lord Teverson spoke about protecting our coastal communities. This amendment allows that to happen. Putting all our eggs—or fish—into the one basket of larger fishing vessels does nothing for our coastal communities. The noble Lord, Lord Hain, has drawn attention to the shellfish fisheries around our shores. These are largely small vessels, and most of their catch is sold to EU countries. He gave an excellent synopsis of how the Bill is likely to play out if no deal is agreed on Brexit.

If the fishing industry is to survive, it must be vibrant and have new entrants. The under-10 fleet must be a consideration in quota distribution and not be fobbed off with the scraps left by the deep-sea fishing fleet. I could not follow the logic of the arguments of the noble Earl, Lord Caithness; there will be no rush of new entrants unless they can be assured of receiving a quota to live on. I look forward to the Minister’s response, but if it is not sufficient, I will join others in the virtual Lobby.