Previous SectionIndexHome Page

16 Jan 2003 : Column 906—continued

5.50 pm

Mr. Morley: I begin by welcoming the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait) to the Dispatch Box on her first outing on fisheries. I believe that it is the first time that she has been involved in such a debate, and I certainly welcome her contributions and her courtesy.

16 Jan 2003 : Column 907

As she was involved in the previous days-at-sea scheme, she will know that it took a very different approach; it applied to the whole of the UK and to the entire industry. However, as I have said before, I do not dispute that there are problems, not least with administering such schemes. Indeed, I made that point to the Commission.

On the alternatives, the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr. Hayes) made a strong case against quota control, but in doing so he simply played into the Commission's hands. The Commission advocated days-at-sea effort control because, in its view, quotas and traditional management methods have failed to deliver. All that he has done today is to give comfort to the Commission and credibility to its alternative proposals. The days-at-sea scheme is a possible alternative to quotas. It could deal with issues relating to discounts, and I have never been one to close my mind to different approaches.

My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, Central (Mr. Doran) made a very good point about the various processes and about crew nationality. The latter point is certainly worth considering in some detail, and I shall do so. The hon. Member for St. Ives (Andrew George) mentioned industrial fishing, as did several other Members. He made some very positive suggestions, including one relating to the Trevose grounds. We are advocating that suggestion to the Commission, and we want to pursue the issue in respect of closed areas as part of fisheries conservation. I was very pleased to learn of the support offered by his local industry.

On mesh sizes, the chairman of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation presented me with what I suspect was an off-cut of the piece of mesh to which the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) referred. In turn, I presented it to the commissioner, in order to make the point about the impact of industrial fishing. The campaign will be ongoing, and other member states are indeed beginning to take an interest. That is what we need, because for many years mine has been the sole voice on this issue in the Council. Things are beginning to change, but we need the arguments to make the change that we are trying to achieve.

My hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) discussed the impact on fishermen, and, as he knows, I take that issue seriously. He came to see me today to make the case for his fishermen, and we will consider what he said as we put together a package for the industry. The right hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Redwood) discussed discards. It is indeed an important issue, and I have made it clear that we want to make progress on it. Of course, there are problems with any approach. For example, there is a case for landing all discards, but enforcement is a real problem. Norway and Iceland have a discard ban, but my colleagues in those countries concede that it presents real difficulties—unless one puts people permanently on board ships to ensure that, for whatever reason, they are landed. There are also dangers associated with targeting. Nevertheless, I rule out no particular approach, and discard bans have been mentioned as a possibility.

My hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) mentioned the cut in plaice, and the overlap with restricted areas. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

16 Jan 2003 : Column 908

and sea fish inspectors will give her fishermen details on the rules and how they work, but if she has any queries, I am only too pleased to help.

I recognise that the constituents of the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan, and of other Members, will be greatly affected, but I disagree with him in one respect. He said that there are problems with the settlement, and I do not disagree with that. I am not claiming that it is a huge victory or a great success; it will have severe consequences for the fishing industry. However, he did not touch on the issue that I cannot ignore: the scientific advice and the need to respond to it, and the effect in terms of mixed fisheries.

Mr. Salmond: Will the Minister deal with the question of haddock and whiting? He sat with the DEFRA scientists and me, and he knows that what I said was true. Can he get haddock and whiting Xout from under" the cod crisis?

Mr. Morley: We are doing our best to decouple the issues, as I said earlier. We cannot ignore the fact that in a mixed fishery the fish will be caught together, but I would be only too delighted to reduce the impact on those two stocks if it is possible to do so. I am prepared to explore possible methods.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hastings and Rye (Mr. Foster) made some good points about his beach fleet. We are making suggestions to his local industry about differential cod quotas according to season that may address some of its worries. We will try that this year, and if it does not work we shall be willing to look again at decoupling. As for spider crab, there is a possibility of financial support through the financial instrument for fisheries guidance for marketing. I should be happy to discuss that further with my hon. Friend.

The hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Steen) is a veteran of these debates, and I always enjoy his speeches. I was interested by what he said about the New Zealand management system. The system has both strengths and weaknesses. As with all the issues we have been discussing, there is no perfect system: there is no system that has no disadvantages.

The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael) welcomed the establishment of regional advisory councils, which I too consider important. I appreciate the potential impact of the settlement on Shetland and other fishing-dependent areas. These are predominantly matters for the Scottish Executive, who I know are addressing them.

Andrew Mackinlay: Bearing in mind direct rule, will the Minister make some reference to the impact on Northern Ireland's fishing communities? What assurances can he give those people? This is their Parliament now, and some attention should be paid to them.

Mr. Morley: I have been in touch with my ministerial colleague in Northern Ireland, and have also met Northern Ireland fishing representatives. We are trying to deal with their problems.

I was interested by the contribution of the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings. In quite a long speech, yet again there was no suggested solution

16 Jan 2003 : Column 909

or alternative approach to the very real problems that we face. Not long ago, members of the hon. Gentleman's party were telling us that there was no way we would achieve relative stability after January, that there was no way we would maintain coastal limits, and that we would have an EU fleet with EU permits under EU control. None of that has happened in connection with the agreement on CFP reform.

The idea that what we are doing in relation to quota management will allow more quota for other countries is complete nonsense. What we are doing is improving UK national quota for the benefit of the UK national fleet. We have heard what has been said today about national control many times. Yet again we have asked the Conservatives what that means, how it will be achieved and how it will be applied. I think it is a cruel deception of the fishing industry to suggest that there is a magic solution when there is not.

The Conservatives have criticised the priority given to the fishing industry. We now know, as a result of the 30-year rule, what priority Conservative Governments gave the industry in terms of negotiation. The hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings says that we should have joined others to secure a better deal. I take it he means we should have joined Spain, which wanted access to the North sea. I take it he means we should have joined those who wanted to continue building grants, an entirely unsustainable solution to our problems.

The truth is that when it comes to trying to negotiate in Europe, the Conservative Government are regarded as even more of an irrelevance than the Conservative party is today. It does not help the fishing industry to take a pompous little Englander approach based on Eurosceptic nonsense that is a betrayal of environmental responsibilities and the genuine needs of this country's fishing industry.

There are real problems to address, but we believe that the industry has a future. We believe that we must respond to the science, even if it means tough decisions. We recognise that there will be consequences, but we will face up to them. We will work with the industry to give it a sustainable future, rather than making false and empty promises.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 132, Noes 318.

Division No. 55
[6:00 pm


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Arbuthnot, rh James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John (Billericay)
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burns, Simon
Burt, Alistair
Cameron, David
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Conway, Derek
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cran, James (Beverley)
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Forth, rh Eric
Fox, Dr. Liam
Gale, Roger (N Thanet)
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Grayling, Chris
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Hague, rh William
Hammond, Philip
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John (S Holland)
Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Hendry, Charles
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howard, rh Michael
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Greg (E Yorkshire)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, rh Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, rh Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Mackay, rh Andrew
Maclean, rh David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Mates, Michael
Maude, rh Francis
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
Mercer, Patrick
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, rh Michael
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Redwood, rh John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham & M-Kent)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Salmond, Alex
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Spring, Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Trend, Michael
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyrie, Andrew
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Weir, Michael
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim (S Suffolk)
Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Mark Hoban and
Mr. Mark Francois


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale & Darwen)
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Barrett, John
Barron, rh Kevin
Battle, John
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, rh Margaret
Beith, rh A. J.
Bell, Stuart
Benn, Hilary
Bennett, Andrew
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Borrow, David
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L.
Brown, rh Nicholas (Newcastle E Wallsend)
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burnett, John
Byers, rh Stephen
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Cairns, David
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caplin, Ivor
Carmichael, Alistair
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Clapham, Michael
Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge & Chryston)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann (Cynon V)
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Yvette
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, hon. Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davis, rh Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, rh John
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood)
Dobson, rh Frank
Doughty, Sue
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Drew, David (Stroud)
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul (Newport W)
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Galloway, George
Gapes, Mike (Ilford S)
Gardiner, Barry
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, rh Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hancock, Mike
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Healey, John
Heath, David
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hinchliffe, David
Hoey, Kate (Vauxhall)
Hoon, rh Geoffrey
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford & Urmston)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hutton, rh John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Ingram, rh Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Kaufman, rh Gerald
Keen, Alan (Feltham)
Keen, Ann (Brentford)
Kemp, Fraser
Kidney, David
King, Andy (Rugby)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green & Bow)
Kirkwood, Sir Archy
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lamb, Norman
Lammy, David
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
Lyons, John (Strathkelvin)
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Chris
McCartney, rh Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
McFall, John
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
Mahmood, Khalid
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Marris, Rob (Wolverh'ton SW)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Meacher, rh Michael
Meale, Alan (Mansfield)
Merron, Gillian
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moran, Margaret
Morley, Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, rh Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan (Wansdyke)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Edward
Öpik, Lembit
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris (Gravesham)
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Pugh, Dr. John
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quin, rh Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Reid, rh Dr. John (Hamilton N & Bellshill)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)
Rooney, Terry
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N)
Salter, Martin
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simon, Siôn (B'ham Erdington)
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, rh Chris (Islington S & Finsbury)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh John
Squire, Rachel
Stevenson, George
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Taylor, rh Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth (Harrow W)
Thurso, John
Timms, Stephen
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Tonge, Dr. Jenny
Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Vaz, Keith (Leicester E)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Robert N.
Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Williams, Betty (Conwy)
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Gerry Sutcliffe and
Jim Fitzpatrick

Question accordingly negatived.

16 Jan 2003 : Column 913

Main Question put and agreed to.


Next Section

IndexHome Page