At last month’s EU Fisheries Council I secured agreement to a reformed common fisheries policy which includes a ban on discards. Alongside firm deadlines and the practical means to deliver a ban, this moves us much closer to eliminating the terrible waste caused by discarding. Discussions with the European Parliament will now begin in order to agree the final common fisheries policy reform package later this year.
I congratulate my hon. Friend on the tenacity of his negotiating skills in Brussels, because some of the options that were being proposed would have been disastrous for British fishermen. May I seek assurances that in the further negotiations he will champion British fishermen and the welfare of British waters?
I thank my hon. Friend. Our fishermen have led the way in reducing discards through innovative schemes such as the catch quota scheme and Project 50%. There has been good work by my Department on supply chains and other measures that will need to be brought in to ensure that a discard ban works. My hon. Friend is right that we managed to see off some changes that would have dramatically watered down any discard ban. I am really pleased that we are now on track to achieving what the vast majority of our constituents want.