Environment Shadow Secretary Pollard tells Eusitce that Government has no idea what EU boats are catching in non-quota species in UK waters
“The UK Government has no idea how much non-quota species are being caught in British waters”, Shadow Environment Secretary, Luke Pollard confronts the Environment Secretary George Eustice about the Government’s monitoring of EU-registered vessels in UK waters.
Four month on from when The Fishing Daily reported that the UK Government had no idea of how much foreign vessels were fishing of non-quota species in UK waters, Secretary George Eustice admitted that they still had no way of knowing what was being caught.
During last week’s questions and answers in the House of Commons, the Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport put the question to the Secretary for the Environment.
“The fishing industry knows that the Government has failed to negotiate real terms, quota data with the European Union and they also know that the Government has no idea no idea how much non-quota species are being caught by EU boats in our waters. With a shellfish ban on exports and British fishers being harassed for catch data we don’t require from EU boats, where in the Tory manifesto did it say that you would actually give away control of our waters and where’s the plan for fishing, where is the plan?” asked Mr Pollard.
The Environment Secretary defended his government’s position by replying, “Well at Mr Speaker, I’ll take no lectures on his message from the gentleman opposite of course wanted us to remain in the European Union and wanted to allow EU vessels to have the ability to fish in our waters without even requiring a license to do so. The Government has required all foreign vessels, including EU vessels, to have a license to fish in our waters but that set certain conditions. We have access to vessel monitoring data so that we can track the precise location of all of those vessels. And we are also working on methodologies now so that they have to declare the catch when they leave our waters and they enter our waters, and that will give us the data that the gentleman suggests we need.”
Salt has been rubbed in the wounds further by the Government, when Fisheries Minister, Victoria Prentis declared that leaving the EU has become a success for both fishers and farmers. In her House of Commons statement she declared, “I was no Brexiteer, but I must say that farming and fishing, we have really gained from Brexit”
To which one fishing vessel owner replied, “Gained from Brexit lies, lies and more lies. Boats are being sold because of your party’s terrible deal. I ask myself every day how could l have been so stupid to believe that your party would not sell us down the river again but you have!!”