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My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in the debate. I certainly feel well supported to take this to a vote. Indeed, the Minister seems to suggest that we are all rowing in the same direction, and therefore it should not cause too much complexity to him or his department. My noble friend Lady Jones of Whitchurch has spoken at length about our coastal communities and their importance under the last amendment. I also note the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, in this regard. This amendment forms an important and parallel part of our approach to this Bill, which has been shared around the House.
Many have spoken of the Bill as a missed opportunity if we were to continue in essentially the same EU regime, without a deep reassessment and new provisions, as the UK leaves the EU and becomes a sovereign coastal state. This amendment would allow a new beginning for our coastal communities. Local councils would be keen to assemble new apprenticeship schemes to provide the future skills needed for the fishers, both existing—as members of the under-10 metre fleet in whatever capacity—and potential new entrants. It would enable dialogue between these communities and the Government as future fishing opportunities became available, following the outcome of negotiations on the new trading relationship to be defined with the EU. It would allow a new direction of policy to be assessed at each quota period and enable the Government’s warm words of commitment to be fulfilled.
In Committee, the Minister spoke of the many deliberations of the Seafood Industry Leadership Group, with varying degrees of success. The words spoken were:
“It is not easy, but it does not mean that fishing organisations should not continue to try. We must also ensure that there are fish for new entrants to catch, which means balancing the environmental, social and economic objectives.”—[Official Report, 9/3/20; col. 895.]
To the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, and the Minister, who have concerns over new entrants, I would refer them to the industry’s considerations when appreciating this issue.
This amendment would ensure that the situation is assessed at each quota period and consideration given to using any additional quota in support of these two options. I well agree that it would not be necessary for them to have to be given this extra quota, but consideration must be given. This amendment would make sure that is seen to happen. In response to other speakers, I contend that the amendment would allow a buffer, as may be needed—as spoken to by the noble Lord, Lord Cameron of Dillington—if unallocated, and any capacity deficiencies—raised by the noble Lord, Lord Naseby—would be assessed, as specified by the amendment’s provisions.
I do not consider that the Minister’s remarks nullify the relevance and impact of this amendment, and he seemed—if I may suggest—even to misinterpret aspects of the amendment. This is in the strategic national interest, and in the interests of communities, and I would like to test the opinion of the House on the matter.
Ayes 291, Noes 249.