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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 12th December 2018.

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Photo of Sheryll Murray Sheryll Murray Conservative, South East Cornwall 9:30 am, 12th December 2018

I do not accept that. Having spoken to him myself, I know he has not said that he respects the withdrawal agreement completely. That is why I wanted to put on record that what we are hearing in the main Chamber is not the whole statement.

I do not want to focus on subjects that we can discuss in other debates, so I want to address the Council of Ministers, which is due to meet later next week—the Minister might correct me on that. We need to realise that this is a very significant Council of Ministers meeting, because it is the last time our Fisheries Minister will actually have a voice at the table. Even if there is an implementation period, although he will attend future meetings, he will not have a voice. It is extremely important that we all realise that.

Secondly, from 1 January next year, the landing obligation comes into force. There are conflicting regulations as far as that is concerned, because it opens up the whole question of choke species. In recent weeks, bass, which is not really subject to quota, but is subject to a bycatch limit, has affected the small boats in south-east Cornwall, many of which fish from the constituency of my friend, Luke Pollard. Because of EU regulations, these fishermen have to discard bass—a very high value fish—at sea, where it does not survive. That goes completely against the grain of sustainability and conservation. Once we take back control of our waters, the Minister will have the flexibility to make changes to UK legislation so that the rules fit what fishermen are actually catching.