My intervention during the debate on Exiting the European Union (Aquaculture), 20 February 2019

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): I seek to clarify my earlier question, which did not seem to get through. Is the Department working on a better regime for fishing in general, and for fish health in particular, for once we have left? This is a great opportunity, and fishing is an area that has been very badly damaged by EU membership.

The Minister of State (Mr George Eustice): My right hon. Friend will be aware that the purpose of these regulations is to ensure that we have an operable law book on day one after leaving the European Union, but he will also be aware that, separately, the Fisheries Bill is going through the House—it has completed its Committee stage and will return shortly on Report.

I can confirm that the Bill has a dedicated provision that gives the Government power to legislate in the area of fish health in particular so we can improve on the current regime and make any necessary changes. These regulations are simply about ensuring we make retained EU law operable, and I commend them to the House.

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3 Comments

  1. Horatio McSherry
    Posted February 21, 2019 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I may be being simple, but:

    1. “…the Bill has a dedicated provision that gives the Government power to legislate in the area of fish health…”

    Why would the government not have that power once we’ve left?

    2. “ensuring we make retained EU law operable”?

    What retained EU law?

  2. formula57
    Posted February 22, 2019 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    The anonymous civil servant who commented on the Political Declaration (linked in Comments yesterday) notes about clause 73: –

    “UK govt has surrendered Fisheries as a way out of falling into the backstop (EU wants uninterrupted access to UK waters, so a Fisheries deal to be completed by 1 June 2020).
    But if we do fall into the backstop, we will only be allowed to leave if we give
    up our Fisheries (“within the context of the overall economic partnership, the Parties should establish a new fisheries agreement”). Fisheries has therefore already been given away in the WA.”

    Perhaps Mr. Eustice was unaware?

  3. Alison
    Posted February 22, 2019 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the question to the minister. Both needed.
    On the issue of fish health, I think this is massive. It is obvious to me that the intensive fish farming which is widespread in the UK is not only inhumane, bad for fish health, but also very bad for the environment and ecosystem. The costs will crystallize, and the business will become unsustainable, and the mass fish farming we know will disappear.

    The withdrawal agreement is put together to be opaque. THat applies to the clause on fishing agreement on p311 of the WA – in the Northern Ireland protocol section – provides that there shall be agreement on fishing [giving away UK waters, fishing control] before trade deal discussed, and by 1 July 2020 … but that clause is pre-referenced in the main body of the agreement, as forming part of that main agreement (p295). THat is not a straightforward way of stating a provision in a contract.
    This agreement provides that unless the UK agrees a deal on fishing & waters that the EU likes, no trade negotiation.
    With all respect to the minister, I know pro- fishing, he knows we can’t control our fishing regime assuming the withdrawal agreement is signed. And fish health will be covered i.a. by environmental standards
    I don’t think enough people in the UK know enough about the many awful areas of the WA. The backstop distracts too much.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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