The NFFO has written a review of the amendments proposed by the House of Lords to the Fisheries Bill
The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) has written a review of the amendments proposed by the House of Lords to the Fisheries Bill which will supersede the Common Fisheries Policy(CFP) on 1 January 2021.
In their assessment of the proposals they look at whether environmental issues should take precedence over practical fisheries management.
The NFFO expresses its support for the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) method but they express concern that it would be too restrictive if it was to be set too strictly.
On the amendments they write:
“Of the eight objectives included in the Fisheries Bill, five of them relate to fishing sustainably. And that’s fine. Without a functioning ecosystem and policies which limit fishing to safe levels, there will be no fishing industry. It makes sense too, from an economic perspective, for our management decisions to aim to achieve maximum yields, where that is a reasonable option. What fisherman would be against high sustainable yields?
“It is another thing, however, to give primacy to one aspect of environmental sustainability over all other objectives; and to prioritise environmental purity in the short as well as the long-term, whatever the cost. Yet, this is the force and intent of an amendment sponsored by the opposition parties in the House of Lords.
“Accepting this amendment would carry serious consequences for practical fisheries management. In particular, it would tie ministers’ hands when setting quotas each year. The government would be required to set all quotas at levels which (theoretically) would deliver maximum sustainable yield, in all circumstances. No ifs, or buts. And irrespective of the costs.
“The rest of this article explains what this would mean in the real world, but the core message is clear: accepting this amendment would provide a fundamental impediment to practical and effective fisheries management. We do not think that this is what the authors of the amendments intended.”
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