Swimming fish

Sustainability and science stripped from Fisheries Bill by House of Commons

Date posted: 15 September 2020

The Fisheries Bill is the UK Government’s prime opportunity to put policies in place which support the future health of the UK’s seas.

Fishing boats dock
© Mado El Khouly

The government has missed its golden opportunity to give the UK’s seas the protection they desperately need.

Sandy Luk,
Chief Executive

At the Marine Conservation Society, we’ve been working with politicians and policymakers to ensure sustainability and science is at the heart of the new legislation.

Today (15.9.20), the House of Commons stripped the second hard-fought amendment from the Bill which would have required larger vessels fishing in UK waters to carry Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) systems with cameras. This follows last week’s debate which removed sustainability as the prime objective of the Fisheries Bill.

Sam Stone, Head of Fisheries and Aquaculture at the Marine Conservation Society: “It’s a huge blow to have requirements to use cameras to monitor fishing activities stripped from the Fisheries Bill today, in addition to previous changes which have watered down the sustainability objective. We are increasingly concerned that this government is not really interested in moving fisheries management away from the status quo.

“Cameras on boats would pave the way for a new generation of management that is sorely needed and would place information and science at its core. Without good quality data and scientific analysis, it’s incredibly difficult to implement effective management measures to ensure the future health of the UK’s fisheries and subsequently, our seas at large.”

As the Bill progresses through Parliament we will continue to push for more ambitious measures to be included in the legislation to ensure that the health of the UK’s seas is prioritised.

Sandy Luk, Chief Executive of the Marine Conservation Society: “It’s incredibly disappointing that the government have turned their back on making sustainability the prime objective of the new Fisheries Bill. The government has missed its golden opportunity to give the UK’s seas the protection they desperately need. Without sustainability as the prime objective, it’s not just marine life that will suffer but also fishers and coastal communities who risk economic losses as fish populations continue to decline. This isn’t a case of ‘plenty more fish in the sea’.

“We will continue to push policymakers to put the health of our seas first and foremost. Healthy seas full of life contribute to thriving coastal communities and a prosperous fishing industry.”

Follow along with the progress of the Fisheries Bill on Twitter. You can learn more about our proposed amendments on our website:

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