Navy should be bolstered to protect fishing waters post Brexit says MP

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 15 March 2018

The Royal Navy should be bolstered to help protect British fishing waters from the “armada” of EU trawlers post-Brexit, ministers have been told.

Fishing Boat
© Steve Wright

The simple truth is that when we leave the European Union, we will be an independent coastal state. As a result, we will control our own waters

David Davis,
Secretary of State, Brexit

The Tory MP for Kettering, Philip Hollobone, said supporters of Remain and Leave were united in the need for the UK to leave the Common Fisheries Policy, which he labelled the “very worst aspect” of EU membership

Brexit minister Steve Baker said surveillance capacity will be strengthened to ensure UK waters can be patrolled and regulations enforced and he said that the UK will regain control over domestic fisheries management rules and access to our waters.

“Monitoring is a crucial element of effective fisheries management and MCS welcomes any commitments to strengthen capacity on this front,” says Samuel Stone, MCS Head of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

“Whatever the fisheries management arrangements are following the UK exit from the EU, they need to be sufficiently resourced so that an ecosystem-based approach to sustainable fishing in UK waters, by all vessels, is ensured and overfishing becomes a thing of the past. Resource for management and compliance also has to follow need, according to where the fishing is taking place. Fisheries management in the CFP was a on a trajectory of more sustainability and this direction of travel has to continue whatever the future arrangements are within the UK and between the UK, the EU and other coastal stats including Iceland and Norway.”

Referring to when the UK leaves the EU, Mr Hollobone told the Commons: “On that day the armada of EU trawlers that have been plundering Britain’s historic fishing grounds since 1973 are not going to be happy their best years are behind them.

“Will he (the Brexit Minister, Steve Baker) ensure that the Royal Navy has the resources it needs to protect our sovereign waters and ensure the rebirth and renaissance of the British fishing industry?

Mr Baker replied: “You make a serious point with your usual force. What I would say is we do hope to reach an agreement in our mutual interest. But as the Prime Minister has made clear in her Mansion House speech, we are leaving the Common Fisheries Policy.

Brexit Secretary David Davis was also drawn on the UK’s fishing rules after Brexit, with Tory Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed) expressing her disappointment at the “aggressive” line taken by the EU.

Mr Davis replied: “The simple truth is that when we leave the European Union, we will be an independent coastal state. As a result, we will control our own waters.

“There will of course, as was said in Defra questions last week, be continuing negotiations with neighbouring states - because fish move - about catch and quotas and all the rest of it.

“But we will control our own destiny.”

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