The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s Fisheries Inquiry was announced on 16 November 2017. Its aim is “to examine in depth some of the potential changes to fisheries and seafood trading arrangements following the UK’s exit from the EU, and how these will affect fishers, seafood processors, consumers, coastal communities and the environment”.
As the July 2017 House of Commons Library briefing paper Brexit: What next for UK fisheries? explains, in 2015 fishing contributed £604 million to UK GDP and employed around 12,000 fishers. As of 2016, the fish processing industry supported around 18,000 jobs.
In the 2017 Queen’s Speech the Government announced its intention to introduce a Fisheries Bill, which will “[e]nable the UK to control access to its waters and set UK fishing quotas once it has left the EU.”
The Government has also confirmed that when the UK leaves the EU it will also withdraw from the Common Fisheries Policy, which covers fisheries management, funding, market organisation, and management of tariffs.
The Inquiry will consider the following key questions:
- What are the key issues the Government should address within their White Paper on UK fisheries?
- What challenges and opportunities will UK Fisheries face from new fishing and trade arrangements with EU countries after the UK leaves the European Union, Common Fisheries Policy and London Fisheries Convention?
- What stock management objectives should the Government establish in order to achieve the right balance between the interests of seafood consumers, fishers, seafood processors and the environment?
- What trade policy objectives should the Government establish in order to achieve the right balance between the interests of consumers, fishers, seafood processors, and the environment?
- How effective are the Government’s arrangements for representing the interests of the UK’s constituent nations within the UK’s negotiations for fisheries?
The Inquiry received written evidence up to 27 November 2017 and heard oral evidence from the fishing industry on 13 December 2017. More information is available here.