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Amendment 52

Part of Fisheries Bill [HL] - Report (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Teverson Lord Teverson Chair, EU Environment Sub-Committee, Chair, EU Environment Sub-Committee 6:45 pm, 24th June 2020

My Lords, I really find it interesting that the Minister is arguing for a level playing field with the European Union over fisheries regulations. That is fantastic. I shall tell Michel Barnier that the Minister is on board with all the European Union’s demands.

This is a really important issue. I will be as brief as I can, but I want to thank all noble Lords for their contributions. The noble Lord, Lord Krebs, is absolutely right about retailers, but let us get ahead of the retailers, for goodness sake. Let us get our industry match fit before the retailers come and say that this has to be implemented, and other people do it first. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Randall, in particular. Bycatch of birds is a whole area that is important in itself.

The noble Baroness, Lady Ritchie, asked who would enforce this. Marine Scotland, the Northern Ireland authorities, the MMO in England and the Welsh authorities would enforce it. On who pays for the technology, although it now costs way less than £9,000—I think it is estimated at £3,500 per year for these systems, which is an absolute fraction of the turnover of vessels over 10 metres—we can have government schemes. The European Union had schemes to pay for such implementations and the Government have promised to replace the European funding to the fisheries funds, so that could be used if we want to do it.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, implied that we somehow should not catch people doing illegal things. That is a really strange concept. I spent 20 years in the haulage industry. I remember the industry arguing about tachographs in the early 1970s—“We can’t have those”, “Spy in the cab” and all of that. Thank goodness, the Government kept their nerve and did it. Was it a problem afterwards? No. Tachographs gave excellent management information and made sure that the law and road safety regulations were complied with. No one has looked back since. I do not recall the noble and learned Lord asking for the repeal of tachographs in the haulage industry.

I agree absolutely with the noble Lord, Lord Naseby. There is no stronger argument: the common fisheries policy did fail on this. We have this opportunity to put the common fisheries policy absolutely right.

As for all the rest of the changes that the noble Lord mentioned, all the regulations will stay exactly the same, because we have now embedded them in UK law. The regulations governing fisheries will not change on 1 January 2021, so far as I can see. We would then start to change them as time goes on.

The point is that, as the noble Lord, Lord Cameron of Dillington, said, we need to get on with it. This is a tried and tested technology, both globally and in the United Kingdom, and the fisheries industry is used to it. I notice that the Minister has not taken me up on my offer of getting round the devolution problem by making this an England-only application, which I would have been prepared to talk about. No, this is something that we need to get on with. The marine environment is important, we are an independent coastal state, we have foreign vessels coming into a very large EEZ, and we need to ensure that they are monitored and that we increase our data for the science. We just need to get on with this, and on that basis, I wish to test the opinion of the House.

Ayes 289, Noes 230.