There has been mixed reactions in Scotland to the UK Fisheries Act 2020
The UK Fisheries Bill has received Royal Assent and has now become the Fisheries Act 2020 after passing through the House of Lords last week.
The Bill was signed into law on Monday and has been welcomed by Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Chief, Elspeth Macdonald who said “The Fisheries Bill becoming law is another important milestone in the UK becoming an independent coastal State at the end of this year.
“The Fisheries Act will provide the right legal framework for responsible fisheries management in the UK, and SFF looks forward to working with both the UK and Scottish governments in taking forward the innovative approaches, such as fisheries management plans, that the Act makes provision for.”
Defra claims the new Act equips the Devolved Administrations with greater fisheries management powers. This means each Administration will tailor their approach based on the specific needs of their industries and waters, enabling a move away from the inflexible and cumbersome Common Fisheries Policy.
Commenting on the UK Fisheries Act receiving Royal Assent, Scottish Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“While this Act will provide a necessary framework to manage fisheries from 1 January 2021, we continue to believe that the best future for Scotland is as an independent nation in the European Union.
“Nothing in this legislation can compensate for the loss of our biggest seafood markets in the EU and the wider damage that it will cause to our coastal communities.
“With just over five weeks until the end of the transition period, the UK Government must urgently clarify how it will provide us with the multi-year funding which was available from the EU, and support the new powers. We will also continue to oppose, in the strongest possible terms, any attempt by the UK Government to undermine devolved competence over fisheries and other interests through its Internal Market Bill.
“The Fisheries Act demonstrates what we and many stakeholders have long argued – that frameworks, which are negotiated and agreed by the UK and devolved administrations, rather than being imposed by the UK Government, are the only tool needed to manage different policy approaches upon EU Exit. The Internal Market Bill is unnecessary and will cut across the frameworks process and fundamentally undermine devolution.
“The delivery of the Fisheries Act in Scotland will be supported through the development of our Future Fisheries Management plans. Sustainability will be at the heart of the strategy, which will be published before the end of the year.”