Published: Fri, July 06, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Post-Brexit fishing plans welcomed locally

Post-Brexit fishing plans welcomed locally

Yesterday's white paper promised sustainable fisheries and better monitoring of fishing activity and enforcement of laws after Brexit, but no real plans for how these goals will be delivered.

Fishing is a hugely important industry for Scotland, which is home to nearly half of the UK's fishers - an estimated 4,823 people.

It outlines how powers to be proposed in the Fisheries Bill, which will be introduced in this session of Parliament, will give the United Kingdom full control of its waters and the ability to set fishing opportunities.

More than three out of four people support a new law to ensure fish stocks are protected from overfishing after Britain leaves the EU.

Westminster, Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont must therefore work closely together to ensure that new fisheries legislation, from whichever legislature it arises, is jointly developed and mutually agreed to deliver sustainable fisheries management for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and therefore all United Kingdom waters.

'Importantly, it also moves towards a system under which we can catch much more of our own natural resource, known as zonal attachment.

Our vision for United Kingdom fisheries can only be delivered if all four parts of the United Kingdom work in partnership with one another.

However, Scottish fisheries secretary Fergus Ewing said it was "deeply frustrating" that the UK Government "failed to substantively engage" with the Scottish Government on the paper and said there are concerns as to whether some of the proposals, such as charging for fish caught in excess of quota, are viable.

It is right that we are taking back control of our waters.

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"We are pleased a partnership with the fishing industry is at the heart of the government's approach".

Outside the European Union, the United Kingdom will be an independent coastal state and will regain control of its waters and natural resources, as well as the flexibility to negotiate with other countries and ensure stocks are fished sustainably, it said.

The paper also commits to publishing an annual statement setting out the health of fish stocks and based on the latest scientific evidence.

As part of its proposals, the United Kingdom government will commit to publishing an annual statement of fish stocks and promise to work with devolved administrations to help any struggling stocks to recover.

"The fisheries white paper.will outline how powers to be proposed in the Fisheries Bill, which will be introduced in this session of Parliament, will give the United Kingdom full control of its waters and the ability to set fishing opportunities such as quota", said the government.

It will also ensure compliance with global obligations to manage our shared resources sustainably.

FAIR - Fishing opportunities are allocated on the basis of transparent and objective environmental, social and economic criteria, in a way that incentivises the most sustainable fishing. The Ecosystem Based Approach is widely recognised as critical for making sure our exploitation of fish stocks is sustainable not just for the stocks, but also for the other species and habitats that are affected by fishing and other industries, along with issues like coastal development, pollution and climate change.

Interested parties are invited to share their views on proposals outlined in the white paper during a 10 week consultation.

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