The Wildlife Trusts welcome publication of the Fisheries Bill and its focus on environment and sustainability

Chris Gomersall/2020VISION

The response to the announcement of a new Fisheries Bill.

The Wildlife Trusts welcome publication of the Fisheries Bill and its focus on environment and sustainability. 

A healthy and prosperous fishing industry relies on an equally healthy and thriving marine environment. Today’s announcement of a new Fisheries Bill, a key part of the legal Brexit jigsaw, includes important commitments to ensuring a joined-up approach to future management of fisheries and marine conservation.

The new legislation includes commitments to eliminating over-fishing, looking at the wider impacts of fishing on the marine environment and basing all decision making on sound science.  It also renews the Government’s commitment to tackling the question of discards, where perfectly good fish are thrown back into the sea.

Joan Edwards, Director of Living Seas for the Wildlife Trusts said,

“It is important as we leave the EU that all opportunities are taken to put future fisheries management on a sound environmental footing.  The strong commitment to reducing the environmental impacts of fishing we have seen in today’s Fisheries Bill will not only be good for the marine environment, it will also help ensure the that fishing industry has more secure future.”

As well as more technical measures to enable fisheries management to continue seamlessly after we leave the EU, the Fisheries Bill will extend the powers of the Marine Management Organisation, strengthening its ability to manage the marine environment throughout English waters. 

As Joan Edwards explains,

“We have been very worried that there would be legal obstacles to the effective management of fishing in waters that we currently share with the EU.  The proposals included in today’s Fisheries Bill will provide the powers to ensure that the impacts of fishing on sensitive habitats and species in marine protected areas can be effectively controlled.”

Joan concludes,

“We are pleased that the Government has recognised the value of a healthy marine environment. It is essential that all the strong conservation commitments are brought into law and we will be working with partners over the coming months to make sure that none are lost or weakened. The future of our marine life, and of the fishing industry, depends upon it.”