Waves at Teignmouth
© Natasha Ewins / MCS

Success for the Fisheries Bill: House of Lords votes in favour of sustainable fisheries

By: Victoria Riglen
Date posted: 30 June 2020

Last week we were thrilled to see success in our advocacy work on the Fisheries Bill. The House of Lords voted for two vital amendments to the Bill which we believe will make tangible and positive change to the future health of our seas and fisheries.

fishing vessels
© William Murphy

The amendments to put environmental sustainability at the heart of the Bill and to include a commitment to roll out REM with cameras on all fishing boats over 10 metres may not be a silver bullet, but they pave the way for future fisheries management that puts science and environmental protection centre stage.

Emma Crane, Head of Public Affairs welcomed the amendments: “The two amendments to the Fisheries Bill which the House of Lords passed last week could bring genuine change on the water. By putting the environment at the heart of how we manage our fisheries and cameras on boats so we can see what fish we’re taking out of our seas, we can reduce overfishing and tackle the nature and climate emergencies facing our ocean. We’ll be urging the Government to keep these two key changes in the Bill”.

Sandy Luk, our CEO, explained: “The technology will give a clearer picture of how our seas are being fished and what’s being taken from them, paving the way for better, more ocean-friendly management with science and data at the forefront. The Fisheries Bill is the Government’s golden opportunity to restore our marine ecosystem, omitting this technology from the Bill would be an opportunity missed.”

Sam Stone, Head of Fisheries and Aquaculture added: “Cameras would pave the way for a new generation of management that places information and science at its core, and I can’t think of any other single thing that would deliver so much benefit for the UK’s fisheries.”

Now set in the Fisheries Bill, REM with cameras also provides transparency and assurances to buyers and sellers about the sustainability of seafood. A recent survey we conducted found that only a quarter (26%) of respondents felt confident when choosing sustainable seafood, despite a survey by Seafish finding that 70% of UK seafood consumers think sustainability is important.

As the UK begins to plot its recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever that we take urgent action to address the nature and climate crises. These two amendments to the Fisheries Bill are a step in the right direction. While the Bill will be scrutinised further as it enters the House of Commons in the coming months, we celebrate the success so far and what it means for the future of our marine environment.

Learn more about why the REM with cameras amendment is such good news here

Our Red Rated campaign is pushing Government to develop a Fisheries Bill which will take many species of fish off our red rated list and move them into the green. Show your support here.

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