UK Fisheries — [Sir George Howarth in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 12th February 2020.

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Photo of Owen Paterson Owen Paterson Conservative, North Shropshire 9:30 am, 12th February 2020

I congratulate my hon. Friend on landing this timely debate. I apologise to her—and to you, Sir George—that I cannot stay for the whole debate; unfortunately, I have a clash, which I discovered only this morning.

My hon. Friend touches on all the problems with how to fish in a mixed fishery. Does she agree that one of the real horrors of the CFP is the extraordinary level of discards? The industry has said that the level widely across Europe is beyond 1 million tonnes; the House of Lords says it could be up to 1.7 million tonnes.

Our great advantage now is that we can design a system that is tailored to our fisheries and works with the grain of nature, so we can stop that horrendous waste. The only way to do that, which my hon. Friend touched on—it would be great if the Minister confirmed this—is not to trade the allocation of fish stocks in the upcoming negotiations. We must take back 100% control of our exclusive economic zone and all that is in it, and then negotiate—in a friendly, amicable way, as my hon. Friend said—annual reciprocal deals, so we have complete control of what is in our marine waters. That would bring a huge advantage to our coastal communities and, potentially, a massive improvement to our marine environment.