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Fish Stocks

Volume 728: debated on Thursday 23 February 2023

Our landmark Fisheries Act 2020 sets out the legal framework within which we manage fish stocks in UK waters, including fisheries management plans for key stocks. We work with industry and stakeholders, ensuring that precious fish stocks are managed to benefit our marine environment, fishing industry and coastal communities.

I recently hosted the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations in Parliament, as the Minister will know, so that it could launch a report highlighting concerns within the fishing industry across the UK about the loss of fishing grounds to an array of pressures, of which offshore wind and marine protected areas topped the list. What assurances can the Government give that they will speak to the NFFO and ensure that fishing is an important factor?

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for all that she does for the fishing sector. We welcome the NFFO’s “Spatial Squeeze in Fisheries” report, which highlights the need for a holistic approach to spatial planning. I meet regularly with the NFFO to discuss a wide variety of issues, including spatial prioritisation and the concerns outlined in that report.

The Secretary of State and the Minister need to travel to Teesside to meet people from the fishing and wider community who are still looking for answers to the ongoing deaths of crustaceans, fish and other sea life off the coast. If I set it up, will they come to Teesside and explain what they are going to do next to find out what is causing this ongoing crisis?

I share the hon. Gentleman’s desire to know the cause of that terrible disaster. The scientists have looked at this, done a report and come to the conclusion that it was probably a pathogen that is very difficult to detect. Unless there is another event, which I sincerely hope there is not, we may never know the cause of this event.