Bolstered Fisheries Bill and £37m boost for UK fishing industry
The Government will table an amendment to the Fisheries Bill which will enshrine its commitment to secure a fairer share of fishing opportunities for UK fishermen.
The amendment would place a legal obligation on the Secretary of State, when negotiating a fisheries agreement with the EU, to pursue a fairer share of fishing opportunities than the UK currently receives under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
This would overhaul the current system where UK fishermen have received a poor deal that is based on fishing patterns from the 1970s.
On average between 2012 and 2016 other EU Member States’ vessels landed in the region of 760,000 tonnes of fish (£540 million revenue) annually caught in UK waters; whereas UK vessels landed approximately 90,000 tonnes of fish (£110 million revenue) caught in other Member States’ waters per year in the same time period.
As well as strengthening the law, the Environment Secretary announced £37.2 million of extra funding to boost the UK fishing industry during the Implementation Period.
This is in addition to the existing European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) funding, which at €243 million over seven years is broadly equivalent to £32 million a year.
The Government and Devolved Administrations have already committed to match the EMFF funding with around £60 million, so the extra funding will support more projects and the sector will benefit by a total of £320 million.
Mr Gove has also committed that the Government will put in place new, domestic, long-term arrangements to support the UK’s fishing industry from 2021, through the creation of four new schemes comparable to EMFF to deliver funding for each nation. The Devolved Administrations will lead on their own schemes. ■