Lords to investigate the future of UK fisheries
Published:  06 September, 2016

The House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee will discuss the implications that leaving the EU will have on UK fisheries tomorrow, Wednesday 7 September, as part of an inquiry. 

With the UK leaving the European Union, it will also be leaving the Common Fisheries Policy – providing the country with the opportunity to redesign its fisheries management policy and re-evaluate its relationship with the Union.

Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), will be part of the committee. He explained that the NFFO’s role is to secure the best deal for fishermen from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“It is clear that the outcome of the EU referendum marks a seismic change for the fishing industry and the NFFO will now seek to play a leading role in negotiating the new bilateral and trilateral arrangement that will be required following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union,” said Deas. “This will mean working with all involved to ensure British fishermen are represented at the highest level of talks on fisheries management and receive the most favourable deal possible.”

During tomorrow’s sessions, the committee will explore some of the UK’s interests in a future fisheries relationship with the EU and the opportunities the UK has to protect those interests after Brexit. Witnesses are expected to give evidence on issues, including the historic rights in controlling access to UK water and the commitments to co-operate with the EU and other coastal states under international law – and what the industry wishes to achieve from a future EU-UK relationship regarding fisheries.

A series of short inquiries will be conducted by the House of Lords EU Committee and its Sub-Committees to look at the key issues surrounding Brexit.

Alongside Deas, the committee is made up of: Dr Bryce Stewart. University of York, a marine ecologist and fisheries biologist; Richard Barnes, University of Hull, professor of international law; Robin Churchill, University of Dundee, professor of EU law; Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Association; Marcus Coleman, chief executive, Seafish; and Hazel Curtis, chief economist, Seafish.

The committee will discuss the opportunities and challenge in a post-Brexit environment, the role that trade with the EU and access to the EU market plays, obligations that the UK has under international law to cooperate and coordinate fisheries managed with EU states and what historical access rights the UK has and whether or not other states could revoke these if the UK restricts access to its waters.