Fisheries Bill [HL]

Written evidence submitted by the South Devon and Channel Shellfishermen Ltd (FB04)

1. Formed in 1968, South Devon and Channel Shellfishermen Ltd. is a membership organisation of fishing industry professionals with primary interests in crab and lobster shellfish fisheries and artisanal fishing activity. Our membership includes fishermen of all vessel scales, merchants, processors, retailers and associated business.

2. We thank you for the opportunity to comment on the fisheries bill. It is disappointing to note that the bill focusses solely on control of commercial fishing activity and aquaculture and that there are no positive clauses in terms of food provision for the UK, advancement of the status of coastal communities, creation of jobs for the UK economy and so on.

In terms of the amendments to the bill, our feedback is below:

3. Clause 1, page 1, line 12, leave out subsections (2) and (3) and insert- "(2) The "sustainability objective" is that- (a) fish and aquaculture activities are- (i) environmentally sustainable in the long term, and (ii) managed so as to achieve economic, social and employment benefits and contribute to the availability of food supplies, and (b) the fishing capacity of fleets is such that fleets are economically viable but do not overexploit marine stocks."

We are supportive of the revision of the definitions of Clause 1 which will enable UK government to both appropriately manage fishing activity within mixed fisheries and achieve true sustainability within UK fisheries and associated coastal communities, in line with the Brundtland Commission definition.

4. Clause 1, page 2, line 8, leave out "minimised and, where possible," Member’s explanatory statement This amendment changes the definition of the "ecosystem objective" to include the elimination of incidental catches of sensitive species in all circumstances .

We do not support the revision to leave out the "minimised and, where possible" to change the definition of the "ecosystem objective" to include the elimination of incidental catches of sensitive species in all circumstances.

Due to the very nature and behaviour of living organisms, it is unlikely that incidental capture of sensitive species can be eliminated in ''all circumstances''. Whilst we wholeheartedly agree with the proviso of working to avoid and mitigate against such incidental capture, eliminating in all circumstances risks making criminals of fishing industry members who may find themselves in the unenviable situation of accidental capture of a sensitive species in future. We also believe that this amendment could be used by eNGOs in future to curtail legitimate fisheries activity in areas where mitigation would be more approproate.

5. Page 13, line 33, leave out Clause 18 Member’s explanatory statement This amendment removes clause 18, which was inserted at Report stage in the Lords.

We agree with the removal of this clause. Whilst we have sympathy with the ideals of the requirement to land a specific % of fish caught into UK ports, this risks undermining autonomy of vessel operation and has the potential to depress pricing.


September 2020


Prepared 9th September 2020