New Fisheries Bill: an important step towards recovering our seas

Abundant fish populations and a thriving marine environment are not only essential for prosperous fishing communities – they are vital for tackling climate change. The Wildlife Trusts therefore welcome the new Fisheries Bill, which takes significant steps towards recovering our seas.

The Bill contains important measures and has been strengthened in key ways to ensure our seas are managed in a sustainable way, including a legal requirement for all fish populations to be fished at sustainable levels.

The Bill requires the Government to publish Fisheries Management plans to achieve sustainable fish populations, and for fisheries management to take account of the whole marine environment. The recognition of the impact of climate change on the marine environment is also an important improvement, as this will help ensure fish populations are more resilient.

Joan Edwards, Director of Living Seas for The Wildlife Trusts said:

“For the first time in nearly 40 years, the UK will be setting out how we manage our fisheries outside of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). It is important that we use this unique opportunity to put fisheries management on a sound environmental footing and take ambitious action to address the climate emergency.

“Commitments to manage fisheries in a more sustainable, holistic way are very welcome. Abundant marine life and thriving ocean ecosystems can draw down vast amounts of carbon, so putting our seas into recovery is essential for tackling the climate emergency and achieving a target of net zero emissions.

“Now the Government must back up these commitments with real, ambitious action to revive our living seas.”