The Fisheries Bill is the first domestic marine fisheries legislation for over 40 years and is primarily a piece of framework legislation designed to fill the governance gap once the UK leaves the EU. It will set up the foundation for future UK wide marine fisheries policy as an alternative to the Common Fisheries Policy and enable the UK to operate as an independent coastal state. The provisions of the Bill will be needed at the end of the transition period on the 31stDecember 2020.
The aims of this Bill are to:
-control access to UK waters out to 200nm ending the automatic right of EU vessels to enter
-provide a joint management approach across all 4 nations in the UK
-distribute fishing opportunities as determined by the Secretary of State
-ensure the long term sustainability of UK marine fisheries
The Bill is based on meeting 8 core objectives
- Ensuring long term environmental sustainability
- Applying the precautionary approach to marine fisheries management
- Implementing an ecosystem based approach in order to minimise negative impacts to the marine environment.
- Basing management policy on the best scientific advice
- The gradual elimination of discarded fish
- Ensuring equal access for any UK fishing boat regardless of location
- Aiming that UK registered vessels bring economic and social benefits to the UK
- Moving towards “climate smart” fishing in UK waters incorporating both mitigating the contribution of the sector to climate change as well as promoting it’s adaptation to it.
Key to delivery of the aims and objectives of this Bill are Joint Fisheries Statements which require the devolved Authorities to set out how they aim to achieve the key objectives in the Bill. In addition these Authorities will also be required to produce Fisheries Management Plans which set out how they will achieve sustainable fisheries.
Fuller summaries of the Bill can be found on the websites of the House of Lords, the Marine Conservation Society and the British Retail Consortium.
You can read our full position statement here