Fishing: East Anglia

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:00 pm on 18th April 2018.

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Photo of Peter Aldous Peter Aldous Conservative, Waveney 4:00 pm, 18th April 2018

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered the Renaissance of East Anglian Fishing campaign.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Paisley. I am very pleased to have secured this debate, as it provides an ideal opportunity to highlight the work getting underway in Lowestoft, in my constituency, and along the East Anglian coast to launch the campaign to deliver the renaissance of East Anglian fisheries. I am delighted that my neighbour, the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend Dr Coffey, is responding for the Government.

REAF was launched last month, on 15 March, at the East Anglian fishing conference at the Hotel Victoria in Lowestoft. Up to 150 people attended, predominantly local and many from the local fishing industry. Many of the speakers were local, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, my hon. Friend George Eustice, gave a keynote speech and we had a productive workshop in which some very good ideas were put forward for how best to revitalise the industry. Brexit provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do that—to start again with a clean sheet of paper and to have a complete rethink of how we manage these fisheries.

Fishing has taken place along the East Anglian coast for more than a thousand years. Lowestoft was previously the fishing capital of the southern North sea and was the hub of an industry that included many other ports, such as Kings Lynn, Cromer, Sheringham, Yarmouth, Kessingland, Southwold, Aldeburgh, Orford, Felixstowe Ferry, Maldon, Colchester and Southend. East Anglia sits next to one of the richest fishing grounds in Europe, but today little local benefit is derived from that. Most of the UK vessels registered in East Anglia and fishing off our coast are smaller than 10 metres and many of them target shellfish or fin fish in the inshore areas.