This week Fishing for Leave launched a comprehensive 144 page fisheries policy document in Westminster.
A policy which extensively details a bold new approach to fisheries management to cleanly break from the EU, and the disastrous status quo. To allow all in the industry and coastal communities the opportunity to rejuvenate and to make British fishing a world leader.
A summary of Fishing for Leave’s main 14 policy positions, are;
1. Full withdrawal from the EU (as voted for) with no adoption of the fisheries sections of the Acquis Communautaire transposing EU regulation and the CFP into UK law – fisheries should be exempted from the Great Repeal Bill.
2. Restore full UK control over our EEZ and automatically repatriate all UK fisheries resources upon withdrawal as per the terms of Article 50, Section 3 with the UK reverting to international law under the terms of UNCLOS 3.
3. No element of the disastrous Common fisheries policy to be replicated in UK law. The clean break under Article 50 should be taken. Replicating the CFP is environmentally, operationally and diplomatically ill advised.
4. Exclude all the EU fleet using the strong negotiating position of their necessity of access to our rich resources to extract the best reciprocal deals. Any future access agreements should only be on a needs must, equal exchange or better, basis for the UK fleet. Equal exchange must not be equal access in all but name.
5. An environmentally and economically fit for purpose policy that is inclusive of and benefits all in the industry must be implemented. Future policy must create firm foundations for economic vitality and sustainability to provide a firm future to rebuild a home grown, community based industry all around the nation.
6. A resources amnesty should be enacted – Shares of current UK allocations and investments in them should be respected for business stability and continuity. However, ALL repatriated resources should be held in a government pool and allocated for the benefit of all fishermen and communities. Fisheries resources belong to the nation and should be for the betterment of all the industry not corporatized
7. All future UK fisheries entitlements to repatriated resources should be de-monetarised and held in a government pool to stop the present system of buying/renting quota, which undermines-profitability, fishing communities and fishing heritage whilst causing vessels to fish harder.
8. Fish stocks should be managed as a renewable resource and aim for a maximum exploitation yield from a sea area. Currently we have MSY on individual species which is ill founded – stocks are in an interdependent ecology, imagining a maximum of everything ignores their interdependence and our inability to predict it- UK mixed fisheries management should emulate the Faroese pyramid approach to marine ecology.
9. A future fishery management regime must have sustainable foundations and fit the ecology of the UK’s mixed demersal fisheries. The failed EU system of quotas do not work in mixed fisheries and are the cause of discards. Policy must end the cause of discards (quotas) not ban the symptoms. A quota regime and discard ban will decimate the fleet with choke species.
10. The UK must transition to a Days-at-Sea keep what you catch system that changes current FQA entitlements to express them as catch composition percentages. This would provide business stability on investments in FQAs whilst ending arbitrary kg quota limits. Days-at-Sea work ecologically in a mixed fishery, reduces the regulatory burden in being simpler to administer, gives better scientific data with keep what you catch, ends sectoral in-fighting and means land more but catch less with an end to the cause of discards.
11. A future UK fisheries management regime should exempt small vessels (under 10 metres) from most measures aside from a day’s limit and technical measures. It must be accepted that smaller vessels have a limited ecological impact and are a nursery for young fishermen and vital to local communities.
12. To ensure future UK governance recognises fishermen as the primary stakeholders with the greatest interest in sustainability of the marine environment – the unparalleled expertise of commercial fishermen should be recognised and accounted for. As food suppliers, commercial fishermen should be preferential stake holders with proportionate numbers to angling, environmental interests and IFCA representation on all policy making.
13. A UK wide fisheries institute should be created so that fishermen and scientists are made to work together, in a similar format to the successful model created by Norway to produce accurate stock assessments. Using accurate real–time catch data from vessels facilitated under a Days-at-Sea keep what you catch system.
14. To work with other Nordic nations through N.E.A.F.C in broad but unbinding agreements to manage fisheries and control all supply and marketing to a hungry EU market for the benefit of the UK.
The Brexit Textbook on Fisheries can be ordered here: