Clause 54 - Short title

Fisheries Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 15th September 2020.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 11:00 am, 15th September 2020

I beg to move amendment 83, in clause 54, page 37, line 37, after “the” insert “Sustainable”.

I will beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment in due course, because the Bill comes nowhere near deserving “Sustainable” in its title. I have concerns that the Bill is not sustainable, and the Government voted down the Labour amendments to make it more sustainable, such as making sustainability the prime objective of fisheries management, including a net zero plan for how fishing will decarbonise. The Government also refused to ban supertrawlers fishing in marine protected areas. The Bill will therefore not be the world-beating one that it needs to be, and it does not deserve to be called the “Sustainable Fisheries Bill”. I will keep that title in my back pocket for Labour’s first fisheries Bill after 2024.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The naming of the Bill is a matter for parliamentary counsel, for whom I have enormous respect. In fact, I take this opportunity to put on the record my thanks to them for their excellent drafting of the Bill. After careful consideration, parliamentary counsel determined that the Bill should be named the “Fisheries Act 2020” once it becomes an Act, which we hope it will.

Sustainability is one of the eight fisheries objectives set out in clause 1. It is an important part of the Bill but, as I have said repeatedly, a careful balance must be struck between the objectives. Including one of them in the short title will have no practical effect and will, none the less, make the function of the Act less clear.

Adding “Sustainability” might imply that the Bill has only one objective, and that the careful balancing of objectives to deliver a thriving fishing industry, rejuvenated coastal communities and healthy seas is unnecessary. That is not the case, so we do not feel that amendment of the short title—with or without legal impact—is useful. We care deeply about sustainability, but I prefer to reserve the word for actions with substance. Given that explanation, I hope that the amendment will be withdrawn.

Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Fearing that I would fall foul of the Trade Descriptions Act were I to seek amend the short title of the Bill, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment made: 84, in clause 54, page 37, line 38, leave out subsection (2).—(Victoria Prentis.)

This amendment removes the privilege amendment inserted by the Lords.

Question proposed, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 54, as amended, accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.