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Leaving Behind The Outdated Common Fisheries Policy

While Irish fishing organisations are worried about the possibility of a ‘No Deal Brexit’ and its effects, the first major piece of British fisheries legislation in nearly forty years has passed the House of Lords and gone to the House of Commons.

The ‘Fisheries Bill’ creates the power for the UK to operate as an independent coastal state and manage its fish stocks outside the EU. It passed its Third Reading in the House of Lords last week and is now in the House of Commons for its First Reading. It is intended to end current automatic rights for EU vessels to fish in British waters.

Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis said: ““Now that we have left the EU, we have the opportunity to create a more resilient and profitable fishing industry, leaving behind the outdated Common Fisheries Policy. The Bill offers us the opportunity to set a gold standard for sustainable fisheries and gives the powers to protect our precious fish stocks while enabling our seafood sector to thrive. The government is now considering the Amendments made during the Bill’s passage in the House of Lords.”

If access to UK waters for foreign vessels is negotiated by the EU in a Brexit deal, the Bill’s relevance would be to ensure that ‘non-UK foreign vessels’ follow the same rules as UK vessels.

UK Fishing Organisations Unite In Call For ‘Promises to be Honoured’

The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations in the UK and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation have joined forces to call on the British Government to “honour promises made to fishermen” and “not back down under pressure from the EU” in Brexit talks.

“It is time for the UK to become an independent coastal state and take control of our own waters,” said Barrie Deas, CEO of NFFO. “The EU is putting intense pressure on UK negotiators. We urge them to hold firm and not trade fishing away.”

The CEO of the Scottish Federation, Elspeth MacDonald, said that “Scotland’s sea of opportunity must be realised. UK departure from the EU will allow it to control access to its fishing waters.”

The two organisations intend to “work closely together in a strong, united campaign to make sure promises made to fishermen are kept.”