The UK’s fishing fleets and fish stocks are currently regulated by the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy. This sets standards and limits for commercial fishing in member states to ensure sustainability, striking a balance between maximising catches and conserving fish stocks. Alongside this, the London Fisheries Convention, a separate arrangement made prior to the creation of the EU, permits five other European countries to fish within UK waters. On leaving the EU, however, the UK will withdraw from the Common Fisheries Policy and the London Fisheries Convention. This policy, therefore, promises to introduce a new regime for commercial fishing.
In April 2018, the government published its 25-year plan to improve the environment, confirming its commitment to a sustainable fisheries policy.
In October 2018, the government introduced the Fisheries Bill, to set total annual allowable catches and to permit the UK and devolved governments to change aspects of current EU fisheries legislation. However, the bill was not passed before the end of the parliamentary session in October 2019, nor carried over into the new session, meaning the progress it had made was lost.
In May 2019, in its first review of the 25-year environment plan, the government relaunched the objective of a flagship fisheries bill. The new Fisheries Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech when Parliament reopened for the 2019-2020 session.
The government has proposed legislation to create a new framework. This policy is ‘in progress’. We will update it to ‘done’ once the new legislation has passed, replacing previous arrangements with the EU. Follow this policy to stay informed.
Reel in the details!
- Common Fisheries Policy Explainer – Institute for Government
- Common Fisheries Policy – European Commission
- Fisheries Convention – Gov.uk
- 25 Year Environment Plan – Gov.uk
- First review of 25 Year Environment Plan published – Gov.uk