The UK Fisheries Bill has passed the second reading and has now gone for public consultation
The UK Fisheries Bill has passed its second reading in the House of Commons and has now moved onto the next stage which opens it up to public consultation.
This Bill is now being considered by a Public Bill Committee which will scrutinise the Bill line by line and is expected to report to the House by Thursday 17 September 2020.
The membership of the Public Bill Committee will shortly be announced by the Committee of Selection.
If you have relevant expertise and experience or a special interest in the Fisheries Bill 2019-21 [HL], which is currently passing through Parliament, you can submit your views in writing to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee which is going to consider this Bill.
The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration.
The public has been asked to note that when the Committee concludes its consideration of the Bill it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can conclude earlier than the expected deadline of 5.00pm on Thursday 17 September 2020. You are strongly advised to submit your written evidence as soon as possible.
Your submission should be emailed to email@example.com.
Further guidance on submitting written evidence can be found here.
Aims of the Bill
The Fisheries Bill 2019-21 [HL] provides a framework for fisheries management after the Brexit transition period ends and the UK is no longer part of the Commons Fisheries Policy (CFP). It is intended to underpin the UK’s management of fisheries as an independent coastal state.
This is the second time a Fisheries Bill with this aim has been introduced. The previous Fisheries Bill 2017-19 was presented in the House of Commons on 25 October 2018. The Bill fell after completing Committee stage in the Commons when Parliament was prorogued for the December 2019 General Election. The current Fisheries Bill, as it was presented in the Lords, was similar in content and aim to the previous Fisheries Bill 2017-19.
Fisheries management in the UK (including quota allocation) is devolved, with different approaches taken by the four administrations. A Concordat for UK fisheries management was reached in 2012 which established common practice across the UK nations for vessel licensing, effort management and fishing quota distribution. Legislative consent for the legislation has been granted by the Northern Ireland, Scottish and Welsh Governments.
There were five successful Opposition amendments to the Bill at Report stage in the Lords, which took place on 22 June and 24 June 2020. An amendment on drafting regarding distribution of fishing opportunities was accepted by the Government. Four others were successful at Report stage on division. These made the sustainability objective the prime fisheries objective in the Bill; created a national landing requirement for 65% of fish caught in UK waters to be landed in the UK; established a quota reserve for new entrants and under 10m vessels; and mandated Remote Electronic Monitoring of fishing vessels.
The Government also made a number of amendments. These included removing the specified time period of a year for setting Total Allowable Catches; amendments throughout the Bill to reflect the change of name of the National Assembly of Wales to Senedd Cymru; and an amendment to clarify that references to EU legislation relate to British fishing boats and quotas. Schedule 10 was amended “to incorporate further amendments to retained EU law which we would have otherwise undertaken through secondary legislation”, to ensure changes are made in time for the end of the transition period and relieve pressure on the secondary legislation timetable.
The Bill will also ensure:
- EU vessels’ automatic access right to fish in UK waters is removed
- Foreign boats will be required to be licensed to fish in UK waters and will have to follow the UK’s rules if access to UK waters is agreed
- Fisheries will be managed sustainably
- The UK fisheries administrations will seek to ensure increased benefits from fish caught by UK boats in a way that respects the devolution settlements
- Sensitive marine species, such as dolphins, are protected and the bycatch of unwanted fish reduced
- The UK fisheries administrations will continue to collect robust scientific data on fish stocks and shares it to manage shared stocks sustainably
- UK boats can continue to access any part of UK waters, as they do now regardless, whether they are registered in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland