ONE of the big wins from leaving the EU will be regaining control of our fishing grounds and the seas around us. The Common Fishing Policy has dragged us from net exporter to net importer of fish. It has seen considerable damage done to our fishery by overfishing, with much of the wealth of our seas taken from us to sell elsewhere. The damage has been intensified by the long period when the CFP forced fishermen to throw dead fish back into the sea, increasing the damage done without producing revenue for the industry and food for the consumer.
A domestic fishing policy must abandon the discards policy and insist on all fish caught being landed and sold. There will need to be controls on how much fish can be taken, with species analysis. There are various systems for allowing rewards for effort and regulating days at sea to ensure some sensible control over the fishery, to allow husbanding of fish stocks. The aim of the policy is to catch fewer fish, and land more fish in the UK from UK vessels.
Regaining control of our fishery will also allow us to invest in a range of fish processing industries close to the ports, to add value and create more jobs. It will be one of the big wins from Brexit to give a fishing policy kinder to our fish and our fishermen and women. We can restore our fisheries whilst enjoying more economic benefit from them. Their sacrifice to get us into the EEC was a disgrace, and their exploitation by the EU has been environmentally and economically damaging.
This article first appeared in John Redwood’s Diary on August 1, 2019, and is republished by kind permission.