Environmental campaigners unite against post-Brexit Fisheries Bill

02/08/2018 - 09:09
Environmental campaigners have united this week against the British government’s plans for fisheries management post-Brexit.

It comes in response to the Government’s recently published White Paper, with the newly formed group arguing that the document is “far too light on sustainability detail.”

Setting out to ensure that “post-Brexit management of fisheries isn't compromised by a lack of sustainability objectives,” the group comprises: Marine Conservation Society, ClientEarth, Greenpeace, New Economics Foundation, RSPB, Sustain and WWF.

Targeting environment secretary Mr Gove, they said he “must understand that 'fisheries' are not just about fish stocks - but the wider marine ecosystem” and that “far too many fish stocks have been depleted in our waters, far too many habitats have been damaged and far too much marine wildlife are killed in commercial fisheries.”

Will McCallum, head of oceans at Greenpeace UK, added: “For too long ministers have promised fair and sustainable fisheries are just around the corner.

“And with the upcoming Fisheries Bill, the Government has no excuse but to deliver on these promises where the recent White Paper lacked detail.

“It’s time to make sure their actions live up to the post-referendum rhetoric, and we hope to see in this Bill a good deal for both our oceans and local fishing communities.”

As such, the conservation NGO experts have launched its #maynotcontainfish campaign – urging the public to get involved by emailing Gove outlining the top priorities for the new Fisheries Bill and demanding that the “management of UK fisheries post-Brexit is not compromised by a lack of ambition on sustainability.”

Claiming fisheries “should be managed for public benefit and respect wildlife” – hence why sustainability must be at the heart of future management - head of fisheries and aquaculture at MCS, Samuel Stone, added: "The outcomes from this consultation will shape how our fisheries are managed long into the future.

“The Government is listening and we need to make sure we all tell the Environment Secretary that our fisheries must be better managed and must be sustainable.

"If we take this opportunity and get the new Fisheries Bill right, it will pave the way for larger, healthy fish stocks, less impact on our seas, profitable fishing communities and the country becoming synonymous with sustainable seafood.

“We have a long way to go but we are at a pivotal moment and this consultation and resulting Fisheries Bill will provide a critical platform for all future fisheries management."

Tom West, law and policy advisor at ClientEarth, concluded: “Our research shows overwhelming public support among the British public – more than three out of four people – for new laws that ensure we fish responsibly and protect our seas after the UK leaves the EU.

“The Government has made a number of promises for sustainable fisheries after Brexit, but so far we’ve seen almost no concrete plans for how these promises will be kept.

“Everybody now has the chance to make their voices heard and tell decision-makers that the sustainability of fish stocks and the health of our marine environment must be at the core of fisheries law and regulation after Brexit.

“This is the chance for the Government to be ambitious and set rules that ensure marine life in the UK’s seas continues to recover and thrive for generations to come.”

To join the campaign or for more information, visit: https://www.maynotcontainfish.com/.

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