New Clause 20 - Coronavirus and the fishing industry: report

Part of Fisheries Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 15th September 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Stephanie Peacock Stephanie Peacock Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 3:15 pm, 15th September 2020

I take the hon. Gentleman’s point. If the Government are willing to accept the new clause, it might be an area that can be improved om, but the point is to try to give greater certainty and greater information to the sector as it struggles to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Under the terms of the new clause, the report would assess and address the effects of coronavirus on the fishing industry workforce and on the supply availability of fisheries products. The new clause places no obligation on the Government to adopt any particular approach to supporting the fishing industry through these difficult times. It simply requires the Secretary of State to report to the House on the challenges that the industry faces as a result of the pandemic.

I hope the Minister will agree that the covid-19 pandemic has placed a great strain on our UK fishing industry. I hope she will support our new clause to ensure that the Government commit to monitoring the impact of covid-19 on small and big fishers across the country.

The Government need to answer key questions. What measures, if any, will they take to provide more sector-specific support to the fishing industry? What actions will they take to support jobs in coastal communities impacted by covid-19? How will they support British ports? What will the Government do to ensure that more fish caught in UK waters are landed in UK ports, providing important foods to communities hard hit by covid-19? Those are important questions. We hope that work to address those issues will take place in any case, but I am sure the House, the fishing industry and the public would appreciate its being as transparent as possible.

Given the difficulties that the coronavirus pandemic has caused for the fishing industry, if the Government are to oppose the new clause, will the Minister clarify how they will assess the impact of the pandemic and provide support for the industry? What mechanisms will they adopt to ensure that the House, the industry and the public are updated on this work?