Fisheries Bill

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The Fisheries Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 29 January 2020, and replaces a UK Government Bill from the previous Parliamentary session.

Overview

The Bill will provide the legal framework for the UK to operate as an independent coastal state now that it has left the European Union and will leave the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) once the transition period ends. It would:

  • Require the national fisheries authorities for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to produce a joint fisheries statement setting out how they intend to achieve the fisheries objectives defined in the bill. The statement would be underpinned by fisheries management plans that would have to comply with requirements relating to sustainable levels of fishing.
  • End automatic rights for EU vessels to access British fishing waters and introduce a license requirement for foreign fishing vessels.
  • Replace existing powers for UK licensing authorities to license fishing vessels in UK waters.
  • Allow the secretary of state to determine catch and effort quotas for British fishing boats, in line with the UK’s international obligations to determine its fishing opportunities—for example, under a future fisheries agreement with the EU.
  • Allow the sale of rights to English and Welsh “catch quotas” or “effort quotas” for a year.
  • Enable a discard prevention charging scheme to be introduced in England.
  • Enable financial assistance schemes to be established in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to replace the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

The Bill is similar to the Fisheries Bill introduced in the 2017–19 session, although some clauses have been redrafted. It also includes new fisheries objectives, the requirement for fisheries management plans and additional powers for the Devolved Administrations.

Lead Committee: Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee

SPICe briefing

A full SPICe briefing on the Bill is available.

Legislative Consent Memorandum

The UK Government has sought legislative consent from the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Government published a Legislative Consent Memorandum on 15 June 2020, which includes a draft motion to consent to the Bill.

The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee published its report on the Fisheries Bill and LCM on 24 August 2020. In its report, the Committee recommended that the Scottish Parliament agrees to the draft motion.

Legislative Consent Motion was lodged on 8 September 2020. The motion was agreed to on 9 September 2020.

Consideration by Scottish Parliament Committees

Date Action
29 January 2020 The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee was copied into a letter from the Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans on the Legislative Consent Motion for the UK Fisheries Bill