Sustainable fisheries enshrined in law as UK leaves the EU

Legislation creating the powers for the UK to operate as an independent coastal state and manage its fish stocks sustainably outside the EU is being introduced into Parliament today.

The introduction of the Fisheries Bill delivers a legal guarantee the UK will leave the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) at the end of the Transition Period, in December 2020 – allowing the UK to control who may fish in our waters, and on what terms, for the first time since 1973.

The Bill ends current automatic rights for EU vessels to fish in British waters. In future, access to fish in UK waters will be a matter for the UK to negotiate and we will decide on the rules that foreign vessels must follow.

As well as powers to implement new deals negotiated with the EU and other coastal states, set quotas, fishing opportunities and days at sea, the Bill includes new measures for Devolved Governments and a single set of UK-wide fisheries objectives to ensure that fish stocks, and the marine environment, are better protected.

Changes to funding rules enabling the UK government to provide financial support for the breadth of what is currently funded by the EU’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, such as training and port improvements, are also included in the legislation.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “This new Fisheries Bill takes back control of our waters, enabling the UK to create a sustainable, profitable fishing industry for our coastal communities, whilst securing the long term health of British fisheries.

“Leaving the EU’s failed Common Fisheries Policy is one of the most important benefits of Brexit. It means we can create a fairer system which will allow marine habitats to thrive, with new powers to support our fishing sector and conserve our wonderful Blue Belt at home and abroad.”

Fisheries Minister George Eustice said: “The Fisheries Bill gives us the powers to implement our own independent fisheries policy, improve our marine habitats and make decisions based on the health of our fish stocks not vested interests. For many people in coastal communities, taking back control and leaving the Common Fisheries Policy is at the heart of getting Brexit done, and this Bill delivers for the environment, fishermen and the Union.”

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