5 reasons why sustainability must remain the prime objective of the Fisheries Bill
By Alice Watson, MCS Public Affairs Assistant
For the first time in over 40 years, we have the opportunity to shape our approach to fishing and sustainability in UK waters – this comes in the form of the Fisheries Bill.
Whilst making its way through the House of Lords, an important amendment passed to make environmental sustainability the Bill’s prime objective. This will make sure that an environmental lens is cast over all future decisions concerning fisheries and how they are managed.
The UK government must use this opportunity to create policies that contribute to healthy marine ecosystems, prosperous fishing fleets and thriving coastal communities. Sustainability must remain at the heart of the Fisheries Bill if we are to achieve this. Here are five reasons why MPs must support the retention of this amendment when the Bill returns to the House of Commons on 1 September:
1. Healthy fish populations underpin healthy seas
Fish populations are key to a healthy ocean and need to be maintained at strong levels to prevent permanent damage. A sustainable Fisheries Bill will fuel ocean recovery and bring about this positive change to our seas.
2. Thriving fish populations underpin thriving coastal communities
Replenished fish populations provide long-term security to the UK fishing industry. This will ensure financial security for present and future generations, protecting livelihoods and long-term sustainability. We could see a rise of more than £244 million a year for the industry, and more than 5,000 new jobs!
3. The government must fulfil their promise on sustainability
In their 2019 Conservative manifesto, the government promised a ‘legal commitment to fish sustainably’. Without keeping sustainability as the prime objective of the Bill, they will fail to deliver on this promise. For too long, other factors have been prioritised over environmental sustainability, so preventing long-term recovery. This is an unprecedented opportunity to deliver much-needed change to the fishing landscape in the UK, and one we can’t afford to ignore.
4. A golden opportunity for world-class UK fisheries management
The Fisheries Bill may be the last chance in a generation to really improve fisheries management in the UK. If the government chooses to retain the sustainability amendment, the UK could become a global leader. The timing has never been better for real change as we start to map out our post-COVID recovery plan.
5. The time is now to put sustainability first
We are facing twin nature and climate emergencies and sustainable fishing can really make a difference. Countries such as Australia and the US have put the environment first and are leading efforts to end overfishing for good. The UK now has a chance to follow their example and put sustainability centre stage.
We encourage MPs to support the retention of this vital amendment, which will deliver huge changes to the way we manage our fisheries for years to come.Tweet