Fisheries Bill [HL]

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Report stage & Report: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Report: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Wednesday 24th June 2020

(4 years ago)

Lords Chamber
Fisheries Act 2020 View all Fisheries Act 2020 Debates Read Hansard Text Amendment Paper: HL Bill 71-R-II(Rev) Revised second marshalled list for Report - (22 Jun 2020)
Moved by
18: Schedule 1, page 37, line 15, leave out “the National Assembly for Wales” and insert “Senedd Cymru”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment updates the Bill to reflect the fact that the National Assembly for Wales has changed its name to Senedd Cymru.
Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Gardiner of Kimble) (Con)
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My Lords, in introducing these government amendments I would like to explain why they have been brought forward at this point. The Government had hoped to make these amendments to retained EU law using the Bill’s powers after it received Royal Assent. However, the delay to the Bill due to Covid-19 has meant that we have put these changes in the Bill itself.

Amendments also update the Bill to reflect the fact that the National Assembly for Wales has changed its name to Senedd Cymru. All UK legislation will now refer to the Senedd Cymru rather than the National Assembly.

We have amended Schedule 10 to incorporate further amendments to retained EU law which we would have otherwise undertaken through secondary legislation. This ensures that these changes are made in time for the end of the transition period and releases some pressure on a busy secondary legislative timetable in the autumn. We have sought to treat these amendments as we have treated the previous fisheries SIs we laid under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act and informed key stakeholders in advance of their being laid. No concerns were raised.

The objectives in Article 2 of the common fisheries policy regulation set the overarching principles that guide the CFP. This amendment revokes Article 2 and replaces references to those objectives with references to the fisheries objectives in Clause 1 of the Fisheries Bill which have already been the subject of much debate by your Lordships. This tidies up and ensures that retained EU law dovetails with the regime created in the Bill.

This schedule now amends several articles within the North Sea and western waters multiannual plans, commonly known as MAPs. The MAPs were designed to be implemented jointly by member states as part of EU law. This means that some of their provisions will apply differently in practice once they are part of retained EU law and apply to the UK as an independent coastal state. We have made amendments to ensure that the MAPs reflect which fish are targeted in our waters and allow our negotiators to operate on an equal footing when they discuss quota with the EU.

The existing provisions of the MAPs include stocks that are not in UK waters, or are caught predominantly as bycatch, and so should not come under the definition of a targeted stock. The amendments reflect that reality and so remove several stocks from the target stock lists; instead they will be properly regulated as bycatch under Article 5 of the MAPs. In line with the approach taken in the objectives of the Bill, we have removed the 2020 target from the MAPs. The Bill’s more nuanced fisheries management plans provide a more appropriate tool to get our stocks to sustainable levels. This ensures that the MAPs will work coherently post 2020 until they are replaced by fisheries management plans.

Something else that would have needed to be attended to in statutory instruments is ensuring that the respective roles of fisheries administrations and the Secretary of State were clear. This is now addressed in these changes, which have been agreed with the devolved Administrations. Other changes have been made to ensure that definitions used within the MAPs align with those used in the Bill, for example in relation to “ecosystem-based approach”. These changes help ensure that the MAPs will dovetail with wider UK fisheries legislation until replaced by fisheries management plans.

The amendment clarifies the link between the Secretary of State function of determining the UK’s quota and the flexibilities and exemptions that may be relevant to that determination. These are important tools which allow fisheries to be managed in a way that allows fishers to adapt to changing circumstances; for example, during variable weather patterns or changes to markets and fisheries. They are particularly important so that fishers can manage their catches in line with the landing obligation.

Flexibilities and exemptions have been developed over a number of decades as part of the common fisheries policy, with safeguards to ensure that they are sustainable and follow the best available scientific advice. They will be preserved in retained EU law, and this amendment merely clarifies the link between the Secretary of State’s function in the Bill and the continuing flexibilities in retained EU law.

The delay to the Bill presented an opportunity to link the Secretary of State’s duties in primary legislation to the flexibilities and exemptions in retained EU law, putting beyond all doubt any question about their operability. A further benefit in making these changes is greater transparency around managing UK fishing opportunities, and how the fisheries administrations can rely on them for managing quota.

Further changes are made to allow the Secretary of State to determine fishing opportunities for a period other than a calendar year. This provides flexibility to align determinations with specific fish stocks that are managed over different time periods, based on scientific advice. North Sea sprat are one example of that, as science on the state of the stock is collected on a July-to-June basis, to match their life cycle better. North Sea sand eels are another example, with science collected on an April-to-March cycle.

However, fishing opportunities for most fish stocks will still be determined on a calendar year basis, as they are now. Consequential amendments are made to Clause 27 and Schedule 5, so that powers relating to the sale of English and Welsh fishing opportunities would be exercisable other than on a calendar year basis, where this is appropriate.

I thank my noble friend Lord Lansley for the amendment he tabled to Clause 25, which we discussed on Monday. A small number of consequential changes were required to the Bill resulting from that amendment.

These are technical matters, which we would probably have considered in the autumn had we been in normal conditions. However, we thought there was merit in dealing with them now. They will ensure that we are ready, post-transition, with our amendments making a more complete statute book. I beg to move.

Lord Alderdice Portrait The Deputy Speaker
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I call the noble Lord, Lord Naseby. Lord Naseby, I can see you, but not hear you. We shall go to the next speaker and perhaps go back to Lord Naseby.

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Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch (Lab)
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My Lords, I thank the Minister for setting out the explanation for this raft of amendments. I should say at the outset that, as a proud Welsh girl, I am strongly support the change of name by the Welsh Government to Senedd Cymru and I am very pleased to see that reflected in this legislation.

I turn now to new Schedule 10. I am grateful to the Minister for writing to us in advance to explain why this new schedule was felt to be necessary, and he has again explained a little about that today. As he said, it was originally intended to be a separate SI. However, like the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell, I am slightly concerned that we will not really be able to give it the scrutiny that we would have applied had it come to us separately. As ever, the danger is in the detail, as we have discovered in our previous scrutiny of SIs.

While we cannot go into the detail of the schedule today, I have some general questions. First, paragraph 6(3) amends Article 3 of the North Sea multiannual plan by taking out the reference to MSY in the objectives, while paragraph 6(4) changes the basis on which the data for informing MSY should be calculated. Instead of the established route of basing the data on ICES advice, the Government have introduced the option of using another independent organisation. We have previously debated the merits and, indeed, the calculations of MSY and we will return to this issue later when we debate the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Krebs. I do not want to rehearse that debate now, but there has to be a concern about the watering down of the MSY objective and the deviation from ICES advice, which is the respected international scientific adviser on fisheries. Can the Minister explain why this wording is being changed?

Secondly, I want to ask about the change to paragraph 6(7) which amends Article 7 of the plan. Why have the Government taken out the word “or” from the previous obligation to take all appropriate conservation measures if stocks fall below sustainable levels? This is a small but significant change in the context of the Bill and it could have a big impact. Moreover, once again it raises our concern that the Government are not serious about delivering environmental sustainability. Why has this deletion been felt to be necessary?

Thirdly, I echo my noble friend Lady Young in asking about the consequence of our sustainability amendment. What are the consequences as a result of this new schedule? If the amendment survives, as I hope it will, would that mean that this schedule has to be changed again?

Finally, I should like to ask the Minister whether these modifications come under the delegated powers in the Bill. Given that we have not had much time to scrutinise them and that we know from our consideration of previous EU exit SIs that mistakes are often made which need to be corrected, how can the Government amend or add to them in the future now that they form part of this primary legislation? I look forward to his response.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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First, I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Young of Old Scone, that when one sees eight pages of amendments, one’s heart sinks slightly as one goes through some of the detail, particularly when they are overwhelmingly technical. However, we are seeking to use this opportunity, which has been driven by the time factor. Of course, yes, we would all have preferred to have had this Bill well on its way to the other place, and indeed probably much further forward, but we are where we are and we needed to take this opportunity. I do not resile from the fact that we have brought these amendments forward.

I turn to a number of the issues which have been raised. On safeguards, where relevant considerations apply, the provisions of Clause 10 apply, so the fisheries authority will have to publish explaining the relevant change of circumstances and the decision made for transparency purposes. On further amendments, a point raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, lawyers have advised that we will need to review Schedule 10 after the vote on Monday, but these amendments refer mostly in general terms to the objectives and will apply as they do in the Bill.

On the points raised by my noble friend Lady McIntosh, the amendments do not introduce changes in policy. We are bringing retained EU law in line with the Bill’s regime. The change from “a calendar year” is being made to recognise that all stocks are set in line with the relevant science. We are thus assured that we are taking the science from recognised bodies seriously.

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Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Portrait Baroness McIntosh of Pickering [V]
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I am increasingly alarmed by what my noble friend says. This seems to be a step backwards. We heard clear undertakings at Second Reading and in Committee that we would continue to take the science from the tried-and-tested research capability to which we contribute financially at present and whose excellent experts we previously heard from in the EU Environment Sub-Committee of our European Union Committee. I am alarmed that there is any question of us moving away from the international science community. As we have established, we do not have unique control over the fish. They move around. I want an assurance that we will not look at moving away in the next five or 10 years, as well as a further commitment from my noble friend that our current commitment to financing ICES after 31 December this year is assured.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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My Lords, we may be at cross purposes here. We have no intention of not using the best science. In fact, I have worked collaboratively with ICES. I assure my noble friend and your Lordships that there is no intention of doing anything other than seeking the best scientific evidence available. That is why we are working with ICES, why ICES has an international reputation and why we have a very strong record here. My noble friend asked about the next five to 10 years. I cannot commit on what a further Government might want to do, of course, but I can say categorically that this Government work closely with ICES, which contributes in many respects to ensuring that we have the best science and the best scientific advice. The scientific objective in the Bill could not be clearer. I am troubled and will therefore write to my noble friend because we may be at cross purposes. There is no intention of doing anything other than going forward with the best scientific advice.

Amendment 18 agreed.
Moved by
19: Schedule 1, page 37, line 24, leave out “the National Assembly for Wales” and insert “Senedd Cymru”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment updates the Bill to reflect the fact that the National Assembly for Wales has changed its name to Senedd Cymru.
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Moved by
21: Clause 11, page 10, line 3, leave out “the National Assembly for Wales” and insert “Senedd Cymru”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment updates the Bill to reflect the fact that the National Assembly for Wales has changed its name to Senedd Cymru.
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Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Baroness for her amendment, because it has provided the opportunity to debate the important subject of ensuring that the UK benefits from the valuable natural resource within our seas, a resource that is a vital source of food for our nation. The noble Lord, Lord Kennedy of Southwark, and my noble friend Lady McIntosh spoke powerfully of the really great communities along our coasts; we need to support them. I reassure the noble Baroness that this Government strongly agree with the sentiment behind the amendment. This is precisely why the Bill already accounts for both the amendment’s aim, as I understand it, and the means needed to achieve that aim.

Throughout the drafting of the Bill, the Government have been scrupulous in their respect for the devolution settlements. The Bill legislates for the UK as a whole only where the matter is reserved, or at the request of, and with the full agreement of, the devolved Administrations. For example, the fisheries objectives have been the result of a fruitful collaborative effort with the devolved Administrations, who have all laid positive legislative consent memoranda to begin the process set out in the Sewel convention. Accepting this amendment would mean legislating in areas of devolved competence. It would impose fisheries management policies on the devolved Administrations without their consent. Officials have engaged with their counterparts in the devolved Administrations and while they too recognise the intention behind the amendment, it has caused them great concern. I address this particularly to the noble Baroness, Lady Ritchie of Downpatrick, and I think the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, also touched on it, but, for instance, owing to the particular circumstances on the island of Ireland, at times it may need to take a different approach to the rest of the UK if necessary. This amendment would prohibit that, and we simply could not accept that.

I now address a concern raised by my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay of Clashfern, but also by my noble friends Lord Blencathra, Lord Naseby and Lord Caithness and the noble Lord, Lord McConnell. Of course, I recognise what the noble Baroness said about the consultation provision, but it is unclear what would happen as a result of the consultation if a devolved Minister did not want to agree to this landing requirement, as the Secretary of State is still bound to bring forward UK-wide regulations even without devolved Administration consent.

Turning to how I believe the amendment’s aim is met in the Bill, in Clause 1 the national benefit objective acknowledges that all UK boats fishing against the UK’s fishing opportunities should bring benefits to the United Kingdom. Under this objective, each fisheries policy authority is required to have policies in place to achieve it, while allowing each the flexibility to do so in its own way and in a manner which respects the devolved status of fisheries management.

That policy is currently achieved through licence conditions which ensure that all UK fishing vessels fishing against UK quota demonstrate a link to the UK economy. This condition can be met in a number of ways, each of which brings different benefits to the UK. The noble Lord, Lord Krebs, mentioned a number of them, but I think it is important that I put on the record exactly the range of them. Those ways include landing at least 50% of their quota stock catch into UK ports; employing a crew at least 50% of whom are normally resident in the UK; spending at least 50% of operating expenditure in UK coastal areas; or by demonstrating an economic link in another way, usually through the donation of quota to the under-10-metre pool. That was a point made by my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay of Clashfern.

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Lord Duncan of Springbank Portrait The Deputy Speaker
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Does the Minister wish to respond?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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This is not my amendment, so I suggest that the clarification is for the noble Baroness.

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
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I thank a number of noble Lords from around the Chamber for their support of this amendment. I find it ironic that we are being ambitious about the consequences of Brexit, perhaps more than the Government are. A number of noble Lords said, in essence, “Don’t rock the boat because of the ongoing Brexit negotiations”. My response would be that that is what the whole of the Bill is about. It is about setting out what we think the future of the fishing sector should be, so if we were going to take that line—“Let’s wait until we know the outcome of the Brexit negotiations around fisheries”—then we really should not have the Bill in front of us in the first place. We should have written the Bill once we knew the outcome of all that. This is our opportunity to state what we feel are the fundamental principles and framework that the future of fishing in the UK should adopt.

The Bill is therefore not about retaining the status quo. There has been an awful lot of caution in the comments made, but what is the point of doing this if we are just going to steady the ship and carry on as we were? We do not want to retain the status quo; this is about seizing the opportunities that taking control of our own waters can bring. Our amendment is a contribution to a particularly important element of that.

Many noble Lords have shared our concerns about the regeneration of coastal communities and quite rightly made the point that it is not just about the jobs within the fleet but jobs on land, particularly those which could arise in the processing sector. There are obviously very important economic benefits. As my noble friend Lord Kennedy said, what would the Brexit dividend otherwise be if not about these sorts of new jobs?

Perhaps I may touch on the issue of devolution. I would urge noble Lords to look again at the wording of our amendment, because all that it requires the Secretary of State to do is to

“make regulations establishing a national landing requirement”.

It then goes on to refer to the consultation details and has a subsection (4) about the potential for exemptions to the landing requirements. The framework—the essence of our amendment—is a very slight obligation. Of course we expect it to be implemented, as all other fishing developments are, on the basis of a concordat or consensus about how we should go forward.

The Minister said that we already have an economic link for 50% of fish landed in the UK. We do not feel that we are going much further than that, and that 50% economic link is something that has been agreed across the devolved nations. It is important to get back to the basics of what our amendment is saying. It puts no obligation or particular burden on the devolved nations, and I very much hope that they would all welcome and embrace it. It is a very modest change: an average 15% increase in the landing requirement is not rocking the boat, by any means. As I say, it allows for a number of exceptions should the appropriate authorities desire to do that.

The Minister said that he already has this matter under review and that the Government are looking at the licensing agreement and the current arrangements. I take it from that that the Government clearly do not think the current arrangements are as robust and worth while as they would want them to be. All our amendment would do is to take it one step further. Rather than the Minister just saying that the review is taking place, it would effectively put that review into legislation. It says that there should be a review, that we should draw up new regulations and that there should be a consultation—not just with the devolved nations but a much wider one. We feel that that is, in itself, a fairly modest aspiration.

Sorry, I should pick up the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Kilclooney, about “the Northern Ireland department”. I accept that, in an ideal world, the amendment would have referred to Northern Ireland Ministers. It was probably drafted before that event occurred; I am sure that it could be tidied up at Third Reading. We could take that point on board but, on that basis, I would like to test the opinion of the House.

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15:16

Division 1

Ayes: 281


Labour: 131
Liberal Democrat: 82
Crossbench: 49
Independent: 12
Green Party: 2
Ulster Unionist Party: 1
Bishops: 1
Plaid Cymru: 1

Noes: 263


Conservative: 211
Crossbench: 38
Independent: 9
Democratic Unionist Party: 4
Ulster Unionist Party: 1

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Moved by
24: Clause 23, page 15, line 16, leave out “a calendar year” and insert “such year or other period as may be specified in the determination”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment enables the Secretary of State to determine a catch quota or effort quota for any period (rather than only for a calendar year).
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Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville Portrait Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville [V]
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My Lords, like all industries, a vibrant fishing industry relies on a rotating workforce. Many families around our coastlines have been engaged in fishing for generations. Sons and occasionally daughters learn from their fathers and become part of the team. However, as we have heard, it is becoming increasingly difficult for new entrants and the under-10s to get a toehold in the industry and an allocation of quota to get started. The noble Lord, Lord Cameron, also pressed the case for fresh young blood in the fishing industry. The examples of Denmark and the Shetland Islands prove that it is possible to encourage new entrants.

For new entrants to feel confident that they can make a living out of fishing and for the under-10s to be able to put a roof over their heads in the much sought-after properties around fishing ports, quota will need to be reserved and increased to be allocated to this vital sector. The noble Lord, Lord Mann, asked whether the Government are happy for the profits of fishing to go to pension funds and shareholders or whether they want to support our coastal communities and young people waiting to move into fishing.

The noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, said in his introduction that this is a minor amendment for England only. When making amendments, the Secretary of State would consider the previous three years’ quota; it would provide a degree of certainty to new entrants and the under-10s. Fisheries plans should consider historic catch. The noble Lord, Lord Krebs, gave a graphic description of how the monthly quota system disadvantages the under-10 fleet. It is time for a change.

My noble friend Lord Teverson spoke about protecting our coastal communities. This amendment allows that to happen. Putting all our eggs—or fish—into the one basket of larger fishing vessels does nothing for our coastal communities. The noble Lord, Lord Hain, has drawn attention to the shellfish fisheries around our shores. These are largely small vessels, and most of their catch is sold to EU countries. He gave an excellent synopsis of how the Bill is likely to play out if no deal is agreed on Brexit.

If the fishing industry is to survive, it must be vibrant and have new entrants. The under-10 fleet must be a consideration in quota distribution and not be fobbed off with the scraps left by the deep-sea fishing fleet. I could not follow the logic of the arguments of the noble Earl, Lord Caithness; there will be no rush of new entrants unless they can be assured of receiving a quota to live on. I look forward to the Minister’s response, but if it is not sufficient, I will join others in the virtual Lobby.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord for his amendment, which seeks to ensure that, before making a UK determination, the Secretary of State must reserve a minimum quota in England for new entrants into the sector and for boats whose length is of 10 metres or less, commonly referred to as the under-10-metre pool.

The Government recognise the importance of encouraging new entrants into the fishing industry and are working on how best to work with industry to encourage new entrants as part of our future fisheries management regime when the transition period ends. I am particularly mindful of what the noble Lords, Lord Teverson, Lord Cameron of Dillington and Lord Krebs, said about this and of their experience in their Select Committee work.

We understand that the amendment is to be targeted at crew members who may wish to purchase their own boat or become a skipper. The Government recognise that if we want our fishing industry to flourish, we need it to be capable of regenerating and maintaining a succeeding generation of skilled and experienced skippers and crews. I think that is exactly what the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville, was referring to.

However, it is important to understand that the challenge of encouraging new entrants is not just about the availability of quota. Depending on what they need to catch, new entrants may not even need quota, as not all species are covered by the quota system. This includes what in normal times are profitable species, such as shellfish, which were mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Hain. While a quota may not always help, these new entrants would need capital investment to meet the costs of vessels and fishing gear. They would also have to secure a fishing licence, the numbers of which are limited as we must manage fleet capacity in tandem with managing quota and effort. We acknowledge that getting investment and securing a licence are significant challenges, and holding back a minimum share of quota would not help to overcome these. That is why, to answer the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, Clause 33(1)(f) provides the powers to fund training for those who intend to become involved in commercial fishing or aquaculture activities. Obviously, that is important.

However, we must also remember that not all crew entrants are the same. The term “new entrants” can mean very different categories of people. In the industry, it refers not only to new boat owners, but also to new crew members for existing boats. These new entrants clearly do no need quota to enter the industry. Instead, they need training and encouragement to embark upon a career in fishing as an attractive and stable industry. Therefore, I want to spend a little time explaining what the Government and Seafish are doing in supporting this endeavour by working in partnership with a range of training partners to offer apprenticeships across the UK on a range of subjects relevant to the seafood industry and maritime occupations. For example, in England, the Government are working closely with Seafood 2040, where one of the recommendations highlights the importance of training, skills development and workforce retention to a thriving seafood industry.

While the Government recognise the principle behind this amendment, we do not think that reserving a minimum quota for new entrants is the best overall approach to resolving the raft of issues faced by new entrants which I have just set out. We also think that there may be some unintended problems with the amendment. For example, setting aside a blanket minimum quota for new entrants means that other fishers will receive less than they currently do. This could even see quotas go unused, and this is the point—[Interruption.] The noble Lord, Lord Teverson, immediately jumps at something which is not what I am about to say. This could even see quotas go unused if no new entrants were forthcoming in a given year or if stocks set aside were not useful to them. I do not think that either of these outcomes are what noble Lords intend with this amendment.

The amendment also seeks to reserve a minimum share of quota for the under-10 metre pool. Similarly, as with new entrants, the Government recognise the importance of our under-10 metre vessels and the benefits they bring to our local coastal communities. I think everyone would agree that the under-10 metre sector is vital to the production of good food and to sustaining the local seafaring communities that we all wish to work with and rebuild, as we said in an earlier debate.

I say particularly to my noble friends Lord Naseby and Lady McIntosh that we are open to considering new methods of continuing our support to the under-10 metre pool. It is important to understand that the under-10 metre pool already receives a minimum share of certain fish stocks through the quota underpinning mechanism. The details of this are set out in the relevant quota management rules. In England, this amount has been supplemented through quota realignment exercises and reserve quota policies. We consulted on the 2020 reserve quota policy from January to March of this year, asking specific questions about the amount that should be given to the non-sector, including the under-10 metre pool.

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16:26

Division 2

Ayes: 291


Labour: 136
Liberal Democrat: 80
Crossbench: 53
Independent: 14
Green Party: 2
Conservative: 2
Bishops: 1
Plaid Cymru: 1

Noes: 249


Conservative: 208
Crossbench: 27
Independent: 8
Democratic Unionist Party: 4
Ulster Unionist Party: 2

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Moved by
30: Clause 26, page 17, line 11, leave out “calendar year” and insert “period”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the amendment to Clause 23(1) appearing in the name of Lord Gardiner.
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Moved by
34: Clause 27, page 17, line 27, leave out “an English catch quota for a calendar year” and insert “one or more English catch quotas”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the amendment to Clause 23(1) appearing in the name of Lord Gardiner.
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Moved by
36: Schedule 5, page 68, line 12, leave out “a Welsh catch quota for a calendar year” and insert “one or more Welsh catch quotas”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the amendment to Clause 23(1) appearing in the name of Lord Gardiner.
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Moved by
38: Clause 39, page 26, line 41, leave out from “of” to “or” in line 42 and insert “Senedd Cymru if it were included in an Act of Senedd Cymru”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment updates the Bill to reflect the fact that the National Assembly for Wales has changed its name to Senedd Cymru.
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Moved by
39: Clause 41, page 28, line 8, leave out paragraph (b)
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the amendment that replaces Clause 25 appearing in the name of Lord Lansley.
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Moved by
40: Schedule 8, page 80, line 24, leave out paragraph (b)
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the amendment that replaces Clause 25 appearing in the name of Lord Lansley.
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Moved by
44: Clause 43, page 28, line 28, leave out “Assembly” and insert “Senedd”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment updates the Bill to reflect the fact that the National Assembly for Wales has changed its name to Senedd Cymru.
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Moved by
50: Clause 45, page 29, line 39, leave out from “of” to end of line 40 and insert “retained direct EU legislation”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the amendment appearing in the name of Lord Gardiner that substitutes Schedule 10 to the Bill.
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Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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My Lords, I am grateful for the noble Lord’s amendment and I can be unequivocal in saying that the Government fully support the principle behind it.

Let me be clear in emphasising the importance that the Government place on this country, as an independent coastal state, having the best possible monitoring and enforcement. To achieve that, it is important that we remain flexible and do not prescribe one specific action in the Bill. Leaving the common fisheries policy and taking the Bill forward with its many enabling powers means that we can now design and implement the right policies to fit our diverse fisheries. We must indeed grasp this opportunity, working in close co-operation with all those who have an interest in a healthy marine environment, including the fishing industry. I agree with my noble friend Lord Naseby that this will best be done by working in consort with the fishing industry,

I am very pleased that the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, referred to the Environment Bill, the Agriculture Bill and the Fisheries Bill. They all make very clear the Government’s intent to enhance the marine and terrestrial environments and all that goes with them.

As I made clear at earlier stages of the Bill, lawyers have advised that the Bill already provides the Government with the necessary powers, in paragraphs (h) and (q) of Clause 36(4), to mandate the use of remote electronic monitoring on both domestic and foreign vessels—I emphasise that point—fishing in English waters or across UK waters, if that is agreed with the devolved Administrations, as provided for in Clause 40.

The Clause 36 provisions also allow the Government to introduce new and emerging monitoring and enforcement technologies. We all agree that we want to move to a situation where the UK has the best possible monitoring and enforcement regime. However, REM may well find itself being replaced by something more contemporary and more effective in the near future—a point that my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay of Clashfern alluded to. In terms of good law-making, putting something on the face of the Bill that we are already able to do and know that we will want to change in the future is, in our view, not desirable. Instead, providing for its use in secondary legislation allows us to remain flexible and to react more quickly to the latest scientific and technological advances.

The noble Lord, Lord Krebs, referred to other future technologies, and these are being explored by the MMO, including through a joint project with Defra looking into the use of drones more widely. The MMO has previously used a drone to review aquaculture compliance and has used drone data to inform another investigation. Were we, in future, to legislate for these advances in technology, we would be able to do so through secondary legislation.

In addition, I remind noble Lords that monitoring and enforcement are devolved policies. The amendment covers the whole of the United Kingdom, which is contrary to our devolved settlements. It is also contrary to the spirit of the Bill with regard to how we develop fisheries policy, where we seek to build consensus with our devolved Administrations. A number of noble Lords, including my noble friends the Duke of Montrose and Lord Randall and the noble Baroness, Lady Ritchie of Downpatrick, asked about this, and I will be very straightforward in my reply. The Scottish and Welsh Governments do not support the amendment. REM is being used in their waters in different and appropriate ways. For example, the Scottish Government are rolling it out across their scallop fleet, but their view is that the broad-brush approach in this amendment is not welcome.

In response to a point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Cameron of Dillington, we have small inshore boats that can catch as little as a couple of pots of shellfish or a box of white fish on a single fishing trip, larger boats that use multiple gear types throughout the year and target many different species, and large pelagic vessels that can catch hundreds of tonnes of pelagic species in a single fishing trip. Each of these would benefit from different approaches to enforcement, as the risks are different for each of them. Even with the differentiation between over and under-10-metre vessels, as set out in the amendment, a one-size-fits-all approach to managing these diverse over-10-metre fisheries does not, in our view, work. The amendment does not reflect this variation. Instead, it calls for a blanket rollout of REM on all over-10-metre vessels, irrespective of the fisheries in which those vessels operate or their impact on the marine environment. To put it into context, in 2018 there were more than 514 over-10-metre vessels in England alone.

Another point I should raise is that REM is not just an enforcement tool. Indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Cameron of Dillington, referred to this. It can be used to collect scientific data on things such as catch composition or to assess which gear type is most selective. This could in turn help us better understand the health of our fish stock and wider marine environment. As an amateur ornithologist, I was interested in my noble friend Lord Randall’s points about fulmars and guillemots. It is right that we maximise the benefits of any electronic monitoring by ensuring that wherever possible it can address multiple objectives. However, that brings new questions which must be addressed. For example, we expect that the images collected for enforcement purposes may not be wholly appropriate for scientific data collection. We must ask ourselves what changes we can make to the camera set-up that will allow us to do both.

I also want to use this opportunity to draw out some other issues we must address before committing to a rollout of REM. The first is cost, including up-front costs such as hardware and installation and even greater ongoing costs such as maintenance and storing and reviewing the data collected. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that the initial cost of an REM system is around £9,000. That does not cover any ongoing costs, which also need to be factored in. We believe it is right that we conduct a full cost-benefit analysis of all our options to make sure that we are using the most effective tools for the job. REM costs are not insignificant. Indeed, profitability across the 10-metre sector can vary, and some segments operate with very low profits.

In response to the noble Lord, Lord Krebs, the Government do and will consider all technology. I am grateful to the noble Lord for raising what is going on in other countries because we want to make sure that we get the right technology for all our fisheries and our marine environment. Clearly, we must work closely with all our neighbours, including those in the EU and other coastal states, to ensure we have compatible monitoring and enforcement systems. This amendment recognises that we would need time to work through issues such as how we would store data and share it between countries before requiring REM to be used on foreign vessels fishing in UK waters. Sensitive personal data could be collected via these systems, so we must have a robust data protection approach in place before a widespread scheme could be rolled out.

I say to my noble friend Lady McIntosh of Pickering and to the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, who mentioned England, that the Government have already taken a number of steps to test and, where appropriate, use camera equipment in our fisheries, so I gently chide the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulescoomb, about her suggestion that perhaps we are not doing anything. We are already undertaking these matters. We are running the English fully documented fisheries scheme whereby we put cameras on vessels operating in the North Sea cod fishery. This scheme has shown that REM can be an effective tool to monitor and enforce the landing obligation. Defra is also launching a project this year to use electronic monitoring in the complex mixed Celtic Sea fishery, focusing on generating scientific evidence on catch composition. This will build on previous studies in the south-west focused on haddock. We expect data collection to start in the autumn, with initial results emerging next year.

On the question asked by the noble Baroness, Lady Young of Old Scone, about data on shellfish, there are a number of projects already under way relating to non-quota shellfish and improving the quality and quantity of data collected for these fisheries. One of the projects to improve data collection in England is a king scallop stock assessment programme that is jointly funded by Defra and industry at a cost of around £450,000 per year, and there are further projects.

The noble Lord, Lord Cameron of Dillington, also asked about the implementation of real-time closures. Indeed, the United Kingdom already closes certain fisheries at certain times of the year to protect juvenile or spawning fish.

The Government are developing an integrated package of reforms to be phased in over the coming years, once we have left the transition period and the Bill receives Royal Assent. This will include new tailored approaches to monitoring and enforcement. I think we are all on the same page as the noble Lord, Lord Teverson. We all understand, since we are good custodians, that monitoring and enforcement will be vital for both domestic and foreign vessels fishing in our waters. I say candidly that there are strong reasons why setting out in the Bill explicit requirements to use REM—I have explained to noble Lords that we have been using it and undertaking trials—when it might be superseded by new technologies, could inhibit the UK delivering the right policy. I am dutybound to draw that to your Lordships’ attention.

I know exactly what we all desire. I am sure that the noble Lord will say that it is not happening fast enough, but we need to work with industry and with the devolved Administrations. We need to work with our partners in other waters as well. We all like action this day, but sometimes these things should be done in consultation and by working together to get them right, although I absolutely respect the desire for action this day. I hope, with that rather lengthy explanation, that the noble Lord will at least feel able to consider withdrawing his amendment.

Lord Teverson Portrait Lord Teverson
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My Lords, I really find it interesting that the Minister is arguing for a level playing field with the European Union over fisheries regulations. That is fantastic. I shall tell Michel Barnier that the Minister is on board with all the European Union’s demands.

This is a really important issue. I will be as brief as I can, but I want to thank all noble Lords for their contributions. The noble Lord, Lord Krebs, is absolutely right about retailers, but let us get ahead of the retailers, for goodness sake. Let us get our industry match fit before the retailers come and say that this has to be implemented, and other people do it first. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Randall, in particular. Bycatch of birds is a whole area that is important in itself.

The noble Baroness, Lady Ritchie, asked who would enforce this. Marine Scotland, the Northern Ireland authorities, the MMO in England and the Welsh authorities would enforce it. On who pays for the technology, although it now costs way less than £9,000—I think it is estimated at £3,500 per year for these systems, which is an absolute fraction of the turnover of vessels over 10 metres—we can have government schemes. The European Union had schemes to pay for such implementations and the Government have promised to replace the European funding to the fisheries funds, so that could be used if we want to do it.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, implied that we somehow should not catch people doing illegal things. That is a really strange concept. I spent 20 years in the haulage industry. I remember the industry arguing about tachographs in the early 1970s—“We can’t have those”, “Spy in the cab” and all of that. Thank goodness, the Government kept their nerve and did it. Was it a problem afterwards? No. Tachographs gave excellent management information and made sure that the law and road safety regulations were complied with. No one has looked back since. I do not recall the noble and learned Lord asking for the repeal of tachographs in the haulage industry.

I agree absolutely with the noble Lord, Lord Naseby. There is no stronger argument: the common fisheries policy did fail on this. We have this opportunity to put the common fisheries policy absolutely right.

As for all the rest of the changes that the noble Lord mentioned, all the regulations will stay exactly the same, because we have now embedded them in UK law. The regulations governing fisheries will not change on 1 January 2021, so far as I can see. We would then start to change them as time goes on.

The point is that, as the noble Lord, Lord Cameron of Dillington, said, we need to get on with it. This is a tried and tested technology, both globally and in the United Kingdom, and the fisheries industry is used to it. I notice that the Minister has not taken me up on my offer of getting round the devolution problem by making this an England-only application, which I would have been prepared to talk about. No, this is something that we need to get on with. The marine environment is important, we are an independent coastal state, we have foreign vessels coming into a very large EEZ, and we need to ensure that they are monitored and that we increase our data for the science. We just need to get on with this, and on that basis, I wish to test the opinion of the House.

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19:02

Division 3

Ayes: 289


Labour: 138
Liberal Democrat: 81
Crossbench: 51
Independent: 12
Green Party: 2
Conservative: 2
Plaid Cymru: 1

Noes: 230


Conservative: 205
Crossbench: 16
Independent: 5
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Ulster Unionist Party: 1

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Moved by
55: Schedule 10, leave out Schedule 10 and insert the following new Schedule—
         “SCHEDULE 10 RETAINED DIRECT EU LEGISLATION: MINOR AND CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTSIntroduction
1_ In this Schedule—(a) paragraphs 2 to 8 make amendments of retained direct EU legislation (as amended by regulations made under section 8(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018), and(b) paragraph 9 makes transitional provision.Common Fisheries Policy Regulation
2_(1) The Common Fisheries Policy Regulation is amended as follows.(2) Article 2 (objectives) is revoked.(3) In Article 4 (definitions), in paragraph 1, at the end insert—“(46) ‘the fisheries objectives’ has the meaning given by section 1(1) of the Fisheries Act 2020.”(4) Article 5 (right of equal access for EU fishing vessels to waters of member States) is revoked.(5) Article 9 (principles and objectives of multiannual plans) is revoked.(6) Article 10 (content of multiannual plans) is revoked.(7) Article 16 (distribution of fishing opportunities by the Council to member States) is revoked.(8) Article 17 (criteria for the allocation of fishing opportunities by member States) is revoked.(9) In Article 28 (external relations)—(a) in paragraph 1—(i) for “a fisheries administration” substitute “the Secretary of State”;(ii) omit “objectives and”; (iii) for “Articles 2 and 3” substitute “Article 3”;(b) in paragraph 2, for “In particular, a fisheries” substitute “A fisheries”.(10) In Article 29 (United Kingdom activities in international fisheries organisations) for paragraph 2 substitute—“2 The Secretary of State must take such steps as the Secretary of State considers appropriate for the purpose of supporting the improvement of the performance of RFMOs in relation to the conservation and management of marine living resources.”(11) In Article 33 (management of stocks of common interest), in paragraph 1—(a) for “a fisheries administration”, in both places it occurs, substitute “the Secretary of State”;(b) omit the words from “, and in” to “Article 2(2)”;(c) omit the words from “, in particular, concerning” to the end.(12) In Article 35 (organisation of the markets), in paragraph 1, in point (a), for the words from “objectives” to the end substitute “fisheries objectives”.(13) Annex I (right of equal access for EU fishing vessels to waters of member States) is revoked.Regulation (EU) No 1379/2013
3_ In Regulation (EU) No 1379/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the common organisation of the markets in fishery and aquaculture products, in Article 41 (exceptions to the application of competition rules), in paragraph 2(f), for “objectives specified in Article 2 of Regulation 1380/2013” substitute “fisheries objectives”.Regulation (EU) 2016/2336
4_ In Regulation (EU) 2016/2336 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing specific conditions for fishing for deep sea stocks in the north-east Atlantic and provisions for fishing in international waters of the north-east Atlantic, in Article 1 (objectives), in paragraph 1, for “objectives listed in Article 2 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013” substitute “fisheries objectives”.Regulation (EU) 2017/1004
5_(1) Regulation (EU) 2017/1004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of a Union framework for the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries sector and support for scientific advice regarding the common fisheries policy is amended as follows.(2) In Article 1 (subject matter and scope), in paragraph 1—(a) for the words from “With” to “this” substitute “This”;(b) at the end insert “with a view to contributing to the achievement of the fisheries objectives”.(3) In Article 5 (content and criteria for multiannual programmes)—(a) in paragraph 1, in point (a), for the words from “requirements” to the end substitute—“to be collected for the purpose of contributing to the achievement of—(i) the objectives set out in Article 25 of EU Regulation 1380/2013, and(ii) the fisheries objectives”;(b) in paragraph 4, in point (a), for the words from “reaching” to the end substitute “contributing to the achievement of the fisheries objectives”;(c) in paragraph 5, in point (a), for the words from “reaching” to the end substitute “contributing to the achievement of the fisheries objectives”.Regulation (EU) 2018/973
6_(1) Regulation (EU) 2018/973 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a multiannual plan for demersal stocks in the North Sea and the fisheries exploiting those stocks, specifying details of the implementation of the landing obligation in the North Sea is amended as follows.(2) In Article 1 (subject-matter and scope), in paragraph 1—(a) omit points (f), (i) and (j);(b) in point (k) omit the seventh and eighth indents.(3) In Article 3 (objectives)—(a) in paragraph 1—(i) for the words from “objectives listed” to “1380/2013” substitute “fisheries objectives”;(ii) for the words from “, and shall” to the end substitute “(within the meaning given by section 1(10) of the Fisheries Act 2020)”;(b) in paragraph 3—(i) after “fisheries management” insert “(within the meaning given by section 1(10) of the Fisheries Act 2020)”;(ii) for the words from “. It shall” to the end substitute “and, where possible, reversed”.(4) In Article 4 (targets)—(a) in paragraph 1, omit “by 2020”;(b) in paragraph 2—(i) for “A fisheries administration” substitute “The Secretary of State”;(ii) after “ICES” insert “, or a similar independent scientific body recognised at international level,”;(c) in paragraph 6—(i) for “Fishing” substitute “Where the spawning stock biomass is above Blim, fishing”; (ii) omit “in any event”;(iii) for “the spawning stock biomass” substitute “it”;(d) after paragraph 6 insert—“7 The Secretary of State may, in view of a relevant change of circumstances, make a determination under section 23 of the Fisheries Act 2020 (power of Secretary of State to determine fishing opportunities) otherwise than in accordance with paragraphs 3 to 6.8 If the Secretary of State makes a determination in reliance on paragraph 7 the Secretary of State must prepare and publish a document—(a) describing the relevant change of circumstances, and(b) explaining how the relevant change in circumstances affected the determination.9 For the purposes of this Article, the changes in circumstances that are capable of being “relevant” include (in particular) changes relating to—(a) the international obligations of the United Kingdom,(b) things done (or not done) by the government of a territory outside the United Kingdom that affect the marine and aquatic environment (within the meaning of the Fisheries Act 2020),(c) available scientific evidence, or(d) available evidence relating to the social, economic or environmental elements of sustainable development.”(5) In Article 5 (management of by-catch stocks)—(a) in paragraph 2, for the words from “as defined” to “1380/2013” substitute “(within the meaning given by section 1(10) of the Fisheries Act 2020)”;(b) in paragraph 3, for “In accordance with Article 9(5) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, the” substitute “The”. (6) In Article 6 (conservation reference points), for “A fisheries administration” substitute “The Secretary of State”.(7) In Article 7 (safeguards)—(a) in paragraph 1—(i) omit “all”;(ii) for “decrease in biomass” substitute “current biomass or, in the case of Norway lobster, current abundance”;(b) after paragraph 4 insert—“5 The Secretary of State may, in view of a relevant change of circumstances, make a determination under section 23 of the Fisheries Act 2020 otherwise than in accordance with paragraphs 1 to 4.6 If the Secretary of State makes a determination in reliance on paragraph 5 the Secretary of State must prepare and publish a document—(a) describing the relevant change of circumstances, and(b) explaining how the relevant change in circumstances affected the determination.7 For the purposes of this Article, the changes in circumstances that are capable of being “relevant” include (in particular) changes relating to—(a) the international obligations of the United Kingdom,(b) things done (or not done) by the government of a territory outside the United Kingdom that affect the marine and aquatic environment (within the meaning of the Fisheries Act 2020), (c) available scientific evidence, or(d) available evidence relating to the social, economic or environmental elements of sustainable development.”(8) In Article 12 (fishing authorisations and capacity ceilings), in paragraph 1—(a) after “fishing authorisations” insert “(which may be contained in a licence granted under section 15 of the Fisheries Act 2020)”;(b) for “vessels in its fleet” substitute “United Kingdom fishing vessels”.(9) In Article 13 (principles and objectives of management of stocks of common interest)—(a) in paragraph 1—(i) for “a fisheries administration”, in both places it occurs, substitute “the Secretary of State”;(ii) omit “Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, in particular Article 2(2) thereof, and of”;(iii) omit “, thereby promoting a level-playing field for United Kingdom operators”;(b) omit paragraph 2.Regulation (EU) 2019/472
7_(1) Regulation (EU) 2019/472 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a multiannual plan for stocks fished in the Western Waters and adjacent waters, and for fisheries exploiting those stocks is amended as follows.(2) In Article 1 (subject-matter and scope), in paragraph 1—(a) omit points (4) to (7), (11), (13), (18), (20), (24) to (26), (30) and (34) to (36);(b) in point (23) omit the third, fourth and fifth indents.(3) In Article 3 (objectives)(a) in paragraph 1—(i) for the words from “objectives listed” to “1380/2013” substitute “fisheries objectives”; (ii) for the words from “, and shall” to the end substitute “(within the meaning given by section 1(10) of the Fisheries Act 2020)”;(b) in paragraph 3—(i) after “fisheries management” insert “(within the meaning given by section 1(10) of the Fisheries Act 2020)”;(ii) for the words from “. It shall” to the end substitute “and, where possible, reversed”.(4) In Article 4 (targets)—(a) in paragraph 1 omit “by 2020”;(b) in paragraph 2, for “A fisheries administration” substitute “The Secretary of State”;(c) in paragraph 7—(i) for “Fishing” substitute “Where the spawning stock biomass is above Blim, fishing”;(ii) omit “in any event”;(iii) for “the spawning stock biomass” substitute “it”;(d) after paragraph 7 insert—“8 The Secretary of State may, in view of a relevant change of circumstances, make a determination under section 23 of the Fisheries Act 2020 (power of Secretary of State to determine fishing opportunities) otherwise than in accordance with paragraphs 3 to 7.9 If the Secretary of State makes a determination in reliance on paragraph 8 the Secretary of State must prepare and publish a document— (a) describing the relevant change of circumstances, and(b) explaining how the relevant change in circumstances affected the determination.10 For the purposes of this Article, the changes in circumstances that are capable of being “relevant” include (in particular) changes relating to—(a) the international obligations of the United Kingdom,(b) things done (or not done) by the government of a territory outside the United Kingdom that affect the marine and aquatic environment (within the meaning of the Fisheries Act 2020),(c) available scientific evidence, or(d) available evidence relating to the social, economic or environmental elements of sustainable development.”(5) In Article 5 (management of by-catch stocks)—(a) in paragraph 2, for the words from “as defined” to “1380/2013” substitute “(within the meaning given by section 1(10) of the Fisheries Act 2020)”;(b) in paragraph 3, for “In accordance with Article 9(5) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, the” substitute “The”.(6) In Article 7 (conservation reference points), for “A fisheries administration” substitute “The Secretary of State”.(7) In Article 8 (safeguards)—(a) in paragraph 1—(i) omit “all”;(ii) for “decrease in biomass” substitute “current biomass or, in the case of Norway lobster, current abundance”;(b) after paragraph 4 insert—“5 The Secretary of State may, in view of a relevant change of circumstances, make a determination under section 23 of the Fisheries Act 2020 otherwise than in accordance with paragraphs 1 to 4.6 If the Secretary of State makes a determination in reliance on paragraph 5 the Secretary of State must prepare and publish a document— (a) describing the relevant change of circumstances, and(b) explaining how the relevant change in circumstances affected the determination.7 For the purposes of this Article, the changes in circumstances that are capable of being “relevant” include (in particular) changes relating to—(a) the international obligations of the United Kingdom,(b) things done (or not done) by the government of a territory outside the United Kingdom that affect the marine and aquatic environment (within the meaning of the Fisheries Act 2020),(c) available scientific evidence, or(d) available evidence relating to the social, economic or environmental elements of sustainable development.”(8) In Article 11 (recreational fisheries), in paragraphs 1 and 2, for “any person determining fishing opportunities”, in both places it occurs, substitute “a fisheries administration”.(9) In Article 12 (effort limitation for sole in the Western Channel), in paragraph 2—(a) for “Any person determining fishing opportunities” substitute “A fisheries administration”; (b) omit the words from “and for vessels” to the end.(10) In Article 14 (fishing authorisations and capacity ceilings), in paragraph 1—(a) after “fishing authorisations” insert “(which may be contained in a licence granted under section 15 of the Fisheries Act 2020)”;(b) for “vessels in its fleet” substitute “United Kingdom fishing vessels”.(11) In Article 15 (principles and objectives of management of stocks of common interest)—(a) in paragraph 1—(i) for “a fisheries administration”, in both places it occurs, substitute “the Secretary of State”;(ii) omit “Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, in particular Article 2(2) thereof, and of”;(iii) omit “thereby promoting a level-playing field for United Kingdom operators”;(b) omit paragraph 2.Regulation (EU) 2019/1241
8_(1) Regulation (EU) 2019/1241 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conservation of fishery resources and the protection of marine ecosystems through technical measures is amended as follows.(2) In Article 3, in paragraph 1, for “objectives set out in the applicable provisions of Article 2 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013” substitute “achievement of the fisheries objectives”.(3) In Article 4, in paragraph 1—(a) in point (a), for “Article 2(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013” substitute “the fisheries objectives”;(b) in point (c), for “point (j) of Article 2(5) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013” substitute “the fisheries objectives”.(4) In Article 11, in paragraph 4, omit “and shall be compatible with the objectives set out in Article 2 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013”.Transitional provision
9_(1) This paragraph applies until the first JFS comes into effect.(2) The Common Fisheries Policy Regulation (as amended by this Schedule) has effect as if—(a) in Article 28(1), after “Article 3” there were inserted “in a way that contributes to the achievement of the fisheries objectives”; (b) in Article 29(2), at the beginning there were inserted “The positions of the United Kingdom in international organisations dealing with fisheries and in RFMOs shall be based on the best available scientific advice so as to ensure that fishery resources are managed in a way that contributes to the achievement of the fisheries objectives.”;(c) in Article 33(1)—(i) after “Regulation” there were inserted “and that contributes to the achievement of the fisheries objectives”;(ii) after “management possible” insert “in a way that contributes to the achievement of the fisheries objectives”.(3) Regulation (EU) 2018/973 (as amended by this Schedule) has effect as if in Article 13(1), after “Regulation” there were inserted “and that contributes to the achievement of the fisheries objectives”.(4) Regulation (EU) 2019/472 (as amended by this Schedule) has effect as if in Article 15(1), after “Regulation” there were inserted “and that contributes to the achievement of the fisheries objectives”. (5) Regulation (EU) 2019/1241 (as amended by this Schedule) has effect as if in Article 11(4), after “paragraph 1 of this Article” there were inserted “and shall contribute to the achievement of the fisheries objectives”.Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment inserts a new Schedule in place of Schedule 10, which incorporates the material that was previously in that Schedule and makes further amendments to retained EU Regulations.
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Moved by
56: Clause 47, page 30, line 31, leave out “the National Assembly for Wales” and insert “Senedd Cymru”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment updates the Bill to reflect the fact that the National Assembly for Wales has changed its name to Senedd Cymru.
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Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
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My Lords, I am also very pleased to have added my name to these amendments, and I echo the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Teverson. The noble Lord, Lord Krebs, has done an admirable job, not only in moving and speaking to his amendments this evening, but in making sure that, throughout its passage, the Bill is based on the best scientific principles. I also think that, in this case, he has made an important argument for using the ICES definition.

We have all been concerned about the different ways in which the established measure of maximum sustainable yield can be misapplied or misinterpreted. It remains the case that there is currently no legal commitment not to fish above MSY in the Bill. The Government also seem to have resisted adding a legal commitment not to fish above MSY because the UK—as we heard in other debates—is negotiating access to shared stocks with other states and do not want their hands tied. This should not be an excuse for inaction.

We remain near the top of the league table for EU member states with the highest percentage of their tack fished in excess of scientific advice. As a start, it is vital that the definition of MSY, set out in the Bill, does not allow further opportunities for dispute. We are therefore very grateful to the noble Lord for bringing us back to the need for a clear definition which puts hard empirical data at the core of the meaning. The noble Lord also rightly highlights that the viability of the stocks should be based not just on reproduction but on other environmental factors.

These definitions are the first step to delivering robust, clear application of MSY, and the contribution it needs to make a truly sustainable fishing policy. The noble Lord, Lord Krebs, has made a compelling case for these amendments, and I hope that the Minister can confirm his support for them.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I am particularly grateful for the noble Lord’s amendment because it gives me the opportunity to expand further on how our definition of MSY relates to the fisheries objectives, in particular the precautionary objective, and to our ecosystem approach to fisheries management. I found it immensely rewarding to have early conversations with the noble Lord, Lord Krebs, and fisheries scientists to explore these matters. I am most grateful to the noble Lord and the scientists for their consideration and time in these helpful discussions.

Under the common fisheries policy, fisheries management has largely focused on the management of individual stocks. Clearly fish stocks interact, however, and fisheries activity also has wider impacts on the marine environment. That is why in our 2018 White Paper we committed to moving towards a more holistic ecosystem approach to fisheries management. This approach is supported by emerging best practice in fisheries science. For example—I emphasise this to my noble friend Lady McIntosh—ICES, the international body that advises on fish stocks, now provides advice on sustainable range alongside the traditional point estimate for MSY. Rather than trying to fish all stocks simultaneously at the point of MSY, setting harvest rates within a sustainable range provides flexibility when dealing with the complex interactions in mixed fisheries.

I say to my noble friend Lady McIntosh that we will be continuing to work with ICES, which, as I say, is an international body of great reputation. For instance, when scientifically justified, the provisions in the Bill would already allow us to underexploit some stocks marginally in the short term in order to seek to ensure that all stocks can be fished sustainably. Given that MSY assessments can fluctuate significantly due to scientific uncertainty, it would also allow us to smooth out year-by-year changes in catch limits to help to stabilise progress towards MSY and provide the industry with greater certainty. Such an approach better reflects the future direction of UK fisheries policy.

I say directly to the noble Lord, Lord Krebs, and others, that, in future, fisheries management decisions for both single and mixed fisheries will be based on data-driven science and will include broader ecosystem considerations, including environmental change, together with improving the alignment of fisheries management with fisheries science. Our fisheries science specialists at Cefas are already developing cutting-edge mixed fisheries modelling for the North Sea, the Irish Sea and the Celtic Sea to understand better the benefits of future fisheries catches when moving towards MSY and even to lower exploitation rates, and to reduce the risks of stock depletion.

I thank my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay; I have found that it is essential to hear an expert lawyer’s view. The current definition of MSY in the Bill includes references to theoretical MSY and is linked to the reproduction process of stocks because doing otherwise would in practice further restrict the definition and make it more difficult to follow. Giving other factors equal weight as part of the MSY definition in itself, as these amendments propose, could dilute the key criterion of maintaining the reproduction process of stocks.

The MSY definition as currently worded will instead permit us to set harvest rates within sustainable ranges. This provides the necessary flexibility to look at fish stocks collectively within the ecosystem. It enables us to balance complex biological and ecological interactions within our fisheries as we work to rebuild stocks while allowing a sustainable fishing industry. Our definition is compatible with the current ICES interpretation of MSY.

With that explanation of the wider elements of managing our complex mixed fisheries, as well as the commitment around the use of data-driven science to ground our fisheries management decisions, I very much hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester Portrait The Deputy Speaker
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My Lords, I have received no requests from any noble Lord wishing to come in with a short question for elucidation, so I call the noble Lord, Lord Krebs.

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Moved by
60: Clause 48, page 33, line 38, leave out “the National Assembly for Wales” and insert “Senedd Cymru”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment updates the Bill to reflect the fact that the National Assembly for Wales has changed its name to Senedd Cymru.
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Moved by
61: Clause 50, page 35, line 10, leave out “the National Assembly for Wales” and insert “Senedd Cymru”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment updates the Bill to reflect the fact that the National Assembly for Wales has changed its name to Senedd Cymru.