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29 January 2020
Post-Brexit Fisheries bill to be introduced by UK Government

Fishing Defra 800 Photo: PA

Post-Brexit Fisheries bill to be introduced by UK Government

The UK Government says that the new bill will "realise the benefits of Brexit for the Scottish fishing industry"

A new law for post-Brexit fishing which gets rid of the automatic right of European boats to fish in UK waters is being introduced by the Government.

The Fisheries Bill will outline a legal guarantee that the UK will quit the Common Fisheries Policy when it stops following the EU's rules at the end of 2020.

It means that UK ministers, rather than Brussels, will decide which foreign vessels can catch fish in British waters from 2021 onwards.

The UK Government says that the new bill will "realise the benefits of Brexit for the Scottish fishing industry". 

The Scottish Government is to be given powers to protect off-shore marine habitats and make technical amendments to fisheries regulations so as to "move away from the Common Fisheries Policy after the implementation period in a measured and controlled way". 

The Scottish Government is also to be given powers to provide financial support to the industry in a way similar to how the EU's European Maritime and Fisheries Fund works. 

Both the Scottish and UK governments are to make a joint statement on achieving sustainability in fishing in the future. 

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “Scotland’s fishing industry will benefit from this new Fisheries Bill which takes back control of our waters, enabling the UK to create a sustainable, profitable fishing industry for our coastal communities.

“Leaving the EU’s failed Common Fisheries Policy is one of the most important benefits of Brexit. It means we can create a fairer system for all of the UK, with new powers for the Scottish Government to ensure fish stocks and the marine environment, can be better protected.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland Douglas Ross said: “The Fisheries Bill is great news for our fishing industry and coastal communities, providing fantastic new opportunities for this hugely important sector to Scotland. We are getting Brexit done and becoming an independent coastal state, no longer shackled by the hated Common Fisheries Policy, but empowered to control who fishes in our waters. 

“The Bill gives the Scottish Government more powers at their request and I hope they will put party politics aside so that the Scottish Parliament can unite to grant legislative consent and deliver a sea of opportunity for our fishermen.”

Elspeth MacDonald, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, said: “The Fisheries Bill is the key piece of legislation needed to help deliver the benefits that the sea of opportunity presents. SFF looks forward to working with both the UK and Scottish Administrations to secure the right legislative framework to allow this to happen.”

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