UK Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis visited Tenby where she met representatives from the fisheries and seafood sector
UK Fisheries Minister, Victoria Prentis visited Tenby on Tuesday 25 August, where she met representatives from the fisheries and seafood sector to learn first-hand about the experiences of this resilient coastal community.
The visit, which took place ahead of the second reading of the landmark Fisheries Bill in September, provided the opportunity for a wide-ranging discussion on important sectors of the Welsh fishing industry, such as aquaculture and inshore fisheries, with key stakeholders including Jon Parker, Chair of the Seafish Processing and Importers Panel, and Chair of the Seafish Wales Advisory Committee; and Emma Wootton, Seafish Manager for Wales.
Minister Prentis met with Harbour Master, Chris Salisbury, and local fishermen to discussed safety at sea – an important issue for all UK fishing communities – and was shown some of the most vital species to the industry, including lobster, crab, whelk, sea bass, scallops and locally-grown oysters.
The Minister also met Dr. Andy Woolmer, Director of the newly established trade body Aquaculture Industry Wales; and heard from Jim Evans from the Welsh Fishermen’s Association, who led a discussion on the Welsh catching sector, which employs about 1,200 people and has recently faced challenges posed by the global coronavirus pandemic.
The Fisheries Minister reaffirmed her commitment to supporting all parts of the UK in overcoming the hardship brought by the pandemic, and to taking full advantage of the opportunities available to the seafood and fisheries sectors as we leave the outdated Common Fisheries Policy.
Through the flagship Fisheries Bill, Wales and the other Devolved Administrations will see a significant increase in their decision-making powers in fisheries, and for protecting the precious marine environment. This includes new powers for Welsh Ministers to bring forward regulations to manage fishing activity across Welsh waters.
Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis said:
Wales has an extraordinary wealth of seafood species and fisheries expertise, and I am thankful for witnessing first-hand the resilience of the fishing community in Tenby.
The Fisheries Bill will give us the powers to protect our precious fish stocks while enabling our seafood sector to thrive, and as we establish new relationships with the EU and other coastal States I am confident that there is a thriving future for fishermen and women in this country.
Jon Parker, Seafish Panel and Wales Committee Chair, said:
We hope that the Minister’s visit to Wales has been both valuable and insightful discussing the range of activity we have progressing within the sector.
From seafood culture to maritime tradition, our coastal community has so much to offer to Wales and the UK, and as Britain approaches a new turning point, we look forward to collaborating more closely with the UK Government to share our local knowledge and expertise, and play our part in building a prosperous future for the seafood, aquaculture and fisheries industries.
Jim Evans, Welsh Fishermen’s Association – Cymdeithas Pysgotwyr Cymru, said:
As the UK rapidly approaches the end of Transition Period, I was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the key priorities of the catching sector in Wales.
Welsh fishermen would welcome a Fisheries Bill that provides a thriving and sustainable future for Welsh fishing, aquaculture and seafood businesses, which in turn would support coastal communities throughout Wales.
The UK Government is working closely with the Welsh Government, as well as the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, to develop a new UK Framework that delivers for the whole of the UK and respects the devolution settlements.
The Fisheries Bill passed through the House of Lords in July, with second reading in the House of Commons scheduled for 1 September 2020.
Source: UK Gov