DEFRA'S LATEST MARINE AND FISHERIES UPDATE

The full update can be found here: https://mailchi.mp/17f6a6e6e3f1/defra-update-19122019?e=11597995d6

December Fisheries Council
After 2 days of intensive negotiations at EU Ministers reached an agreement on fishing opportunities for 2020. This also formally approved the agreement the EU had already reached with Norway, Faroes and other coastal states (summary can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/annual-fisheries-negotiations-cut-cod-quota

This year’s talks have been challenging, where scientific advice showed concern for the health of fish stocks in many areas, significant cuts in cod quotas were agreed in the North Sea, Irish Sea, West of Scotland and the Celtic Sea. To further protect vulnerable cod stocks, the UK successfully pushed for enhanced rules on sustainable fishing practices such as changing net sizes, to help the cod make a recovery.
   
For seabass, the conservation measures that the UK pressed for five years ago show that it is starting to make a significant recovery. As a result there have been modest changes to allow recreational anglers to take home more of what they catch, with conservation measures remaining in place.
 
There were also increases for other species such as:

A spreadsheet showing all the percentage changes from 2019 TACs can be found here: https://welshfishermansassociation.sharepoint.com/:b:/g/ETgAbRMC4jdJkmVH2SBE0AoB8eM1QFPGN22tWJQeCg6BIQ

This is the last Fisheries Council that the UK will participate in as a Member State and the fishing opportunities agreed for 2020 will continue to apply during the implementation period in 2020. Once the UK has left the EU, it will become an independent coastal state and negotiate on fisheries as a third country with the EU and other coastal states such as Norway and the Faroe Islands.

General Election and Withdrawal Agreement
Parliament returned on Tuesday following the General Election on 12 December, and the government has today announced its legislative agenda through the Queen’s speech which sets out the government’s agenda, including proposed policies and legislation.

In line with the Prime Minister’s manifesto commitments the Withdrawal Agreement is expected to be debated in the House of Commons tomorrow (Friday 20 December).  The Bill would then progress through both Houses of Parliament in January ahead of the 31 January Brexit deadline.

On the 1 February 2020, when we have left the EU, we will enter into an Implementation Period. The UK will remain in the EU’s customs union and single market and EU rules will continue to apply. The Prime Minister has ruled out any form of extension to the Implementation Period after 31 December 2020.

New Fisheries Bill announced in Queen’s Speech
Today the government has announced its legislative agenda fo the first session of this parliament. This confirms that the government will be introducing a Fisheries Bill, which will enable us to move away from the Common Fisheries Policy and deliver on the government’s manifesto commitments on sustainable fishing.

The Bill will enshrine in primary legislation the powers to take back control of our waters, provide powers for the Devolved Administrations to manage their fisheries in the way that works for them and their industries, and include legal commitments to sustainable fishing and to develop a plan to restore fish stocks to maximum sustainable yield.