Thank you for writing to me about sustainable fishing and the access of large trawling vessels to British waters. I have read your email carefully and noted the key points that you raise.
I share your concern about the protection and health of British waters, and I am aware of the impact that super trawlers can have on marine life. Our waters are a precious natural resource and they must be managed carefully. The future of the communities that earn their livelihoods from the sea and the biodiversity of the ocean depends on a balanced and considered approach to fisheries management.
The UK has 357 Marine Protected Areas covering a quarter of the country’s waters, but the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy currently restricts the Government’s ability to impose more stringent protections on our seas. After the end of the end of the transition period, however, the UK will be able to introduce stronger measures so that we can manage our waters as we see fit.
The Fisheries Bill currently going through Parliament will help to protect marine resources and develop plans to restore fish stock back to more sustainable levels. This builds on a manifesto commitment which promised to introduce a legal commitment to fish sustainably as we become an independent coastal state once again.
For more information please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/fisheries-bill-enters-the-house-of-commons
Regarding super trawlers, I appreciate that their access to UK waters is of significant concern to local fishing communities and to those working to protect our seas. I am therefore pleased that the Fisheries Bill will provide the Government with powers to licence foreign vessels in UK waters. Foreign vessels will have no automatic right of access to British waters in the future. Any vessel granted access to our waters will also be required to abide by UK rules, including on sustainability, and I fully support this approach. We will once again be in control of how we protect our waters.
I am confident that the Government is listening to concerns and taking action that is in the best interests of the UK, and I will continue support a balanced and managed approach to fisheries and marine policy.
Thank you again for writing to me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking