The Fisheries Bill provides a framework for fisheries management after the Brexit transition period ends and the UK is no longer part of the Common Fisheries Policy. It is intended to underpin the UK’s management of fisheries as an independent coastal state. One of the successful amendments introduced during the Report stage in the House of Lords in June was to make sustainability the prime fisheries objective in the Bill.

Support for a more sustainably minded Fisheries Bill has come from a number of quarters including the Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC). Twenty-two of the UK’s leading supermarkets, brands and processors called on Environment Secretary, George Eustice to make vital changes to the Fisheries Bill and seize a pivotal opportunity to develop world-leading sustainable fisheries management calling for:

  • Sustainable fishing limits that are legally binding, in order to prevent overfishing;
  • Robust monitoring and enforcement to better aid vital data collection and ensure compliance with the rules; and,
  • Sustainable management of shared stocks – essential given that the UK shares over 100 stocks with the EU alone.

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Another critical test of building a system of ‘world leading fisheries management’ concerns enforcement and data collection. The Bill, as currently drafted, calls for all vessels over 10m in length fishing with the UK Exclusive Economic Zone to be fitted with remote electronic monitoring systems and cameras (Clause 48). Retaining this clause as the Committee finishes its deliberations of the Bill this week would show that the UK is serious about setting up a credible system of fisheries management. Click here for the Bill timetable

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