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Amendment 52

Part of Fisheries Bill [HL] - Report (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Naseby Lord Naseby Conservative 6:30 pm, 24th June 2020

My Lords, the words of my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay are profound, factual and persuasive; I will not repeat them.

I want to pick up two issues. First, none of us should forget that Brexit, taking place on 1 January next year, is a time of massive change for every industry in the UK. In my judgment, it is not a time to produce new or developing technologies. In the short term, as I see it, the key issue is discards. Interestingly, when I did some research, I found that the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation feels the same way. It feels that it can deal with discards now, in the sense that—I quote the brief that it very kindly sent me—

“this will be the first opportunity for decades to design a fisheries management system that can reduce the problem of discards very significantly through moving away from the common fisheries policy’s relative stability model, which plays a large part in creating the problem, in a move to a modern, evidence-based model based on zonal attachment. The priority should be modernising and fixing this system, rather than putting in place prescriptive legislative measures to monitor the symptoms of a failing model under the common fisheries policy that we now have the opportunity to leave behind.”

In my commercial life, I have found that it is far better to work with the people you are working with—to work alongside them and persuade them on the way. If you ultimately have to do something that they really do not agree with, fine—but not at this point in time in our society when this massive change is coming. Let us allow the fishermen—Scottish fishermen in particular; after all, they produce well over 60% of the landings and work on a devolved basis—to sort out discards, which are honestly a key problem.

Secondly, in the meantime, let the experiments that are being undertaken, according to my noble and learned friend, deliver alongside that. We must take away this element of forcing on people certain issues that they do not particularly want at this time, that they probably do not understand in depth and that will cause aggro, which is the last thing we need.