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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 Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 6:30 pm, 24th June 2020

My Lords, I am pleased to have added my name to this amendment, so ably introduced by the noble Lord, Lord Teverson. In the interests of time, I shall make just a few quick points about the wider advantages, beyond the obvious ones, of access to real-time scientific data. First, REM will enable us to be more responsive to the movement of different fish stocks around our warming waters. That could also provide new economic opportunities, where fishing opportunities are more aligned with the real-time scientific data and therefore enable more fishing to take place. That evidence would potentially also allow more species to achieve Marine Stewardship Council sustainability certification, which would boost sales in the retail sector, a point ably made by the noble Lord, Lord Krebs. Secondly, we do not accept the point made previously by the Minister that this policy would be a distraction from vessel monitoring systems and aerial surveillance. These have their place but do not provide the detail that cameras on board the vessels would, particularly of the species being caught.

Thirdly, on fairness, many boats are already using REM voluntarily, so all we are trying to do is to raise the standard to that of the best and create a level playing field. Fourthly, we also believe that it would be an added safety feature on boats and would provide security for the crew should any danger arise. As other noble Lords have said, I get the impression that Ministers are currently thinking about introducing compulsory REM. A number of Ministers have made positive comments about it in the past, so the Government just need to bite the bullet and push on with the policy, and the Bill is the right place to do it. I therefore hope all noble Lords will support this amendment.