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Coastal Communities

Volume 707: debated on Thursday 27 January 2022

Coastal communities are key to our levelling-up agenda. A positive picture is emerging for our fishing industry, with a quota uplift of £146 million by 2026. In addition, our £100 million UK seafood fund will invest in coastal communities across the UK.

Research has shown that, with rising sea levels, Southport could resemble an island by 2050 if no further action is taken. Will my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State commit to visiting Southport to explore what further steps we could take to protect my constituents’ homes from rising water levels and the increased risk of flooding?

As my hon. Friend knows, the Government have increased spending on flooding to £5.2 billion so that we can better protect 336,000 properties across England. I would, of course, be delighted to meet my hon. Friend and visit his constituency to discuss the particular challenges that Southport faces.

The fishing industry in Shetland is being hammered by Spanish boats engaging in the completely unsustainable practice of gill netting. I have spoken to the fishing Minister about this in the past. What is being done to stop it or to ensure that, if it is to be done, it is to be done safely?

We keep different gear types and fishing practices under constant review. Concerns are sometimes raised about gill netting; that can be a sustainable form of fishing in some inshore waters, but not in all cases. I would be willing to meet the right hon. Gentleman to discuss his particular concern, although in some areas it will be for Marine Scotland to make the technical decisions.