UK Fishing Industry — [Sir Henry Bellingham in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:48 am on 12th December 2018.

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Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 10:48 am, 12th December 2018

As I said, I undertake to talk to my ministerial colleagues about that.

The hon. Member for Great Grimsby made the important point that, although we are leaving the European Union, we will still have annual fisheries negotiations with all our neighbours, just as Norway, Iceland and the Faroes do now. We will want to maintain good relations, and will rejoin the regional fisheries management organisations as an independent coastal state. I know that trade is very important for her constituency, but there is often a misunderstanding here. Although Iceland and Norway are in the EEA, the EEA agreement itself does not cover fisheries trade. Fisheries is outside the EEA trade agreement, but there are a number of separate preferential free trade agreements and what are called autonomous tariff rate quotas to allow tariff-free fish from Iceland and Norway, and even from the Barents sea and places such as Russia, to enter the UK. We are confident that we will be able to roll those preferential trade agreements forward.

My hon. Friend Derek Thomas raised the important issue of bass. We have led the discussions on it for a number of years. Last year, we argued against the overly restrictive bycatch provision for trawlers, and for some provision for the recreational sector. We believe that the science has moved our way on that, and we will be arguing that again. The idea of an advisory committee is interesting. We already work with the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation, and we are looking at whether we can involve the inshore fisheries and conservation authorities in some of our thinking ahead of the December Council.

Finally, Mr Carmichael raised the issue of the EU-Faroes deal. I can tell him that when we leave the EU, it will be a UK-Faroes deal, and we will not have the problem of British interests being traded away for other EU countries’ interests.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House
has considered the UK fishing industry.