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Fisheries Bill for the UK: how will Northern Ireland’s waters be managed?

Claire-Goodwin

Picture Credit: Lobster in the Irish Sea – by Claire Goodwin

26th October 2018

Today at Westminster a new Fisheries Bill was published. The Northern Ireland Marine Task Force and Nature Matters NI, which represent more than 100,000 members, welcome the introduction of the new legislation by the UK Government.

With Brexit less than 6 months away, the Bill sets out a potential pathway for sustainable fishing in the UK. While the objectives on the face of the bill are strong, the mechanisms to make it happen set out in the bill are only currently applicable to England.

Commenting on the content of the new fisheries legislation, Dr Jade Berman, Living Seas Manager said:

‘We welcome the strong principles in the new bill such as the sustainability and precautionary objectives, however without a functioning executive, it remains unclear how these will apply to Northern Ireland in the future.’

The last substantial review of Northern Ireland Fisheries legislation was in 1966, when sustainable practices were not seen as core to the future of the industry. This legislation needs to be brought up to date and into the future, building on our shared knowledge.

The new bill creates the potential for the UK, including Northern Ireland, to become world leaders in sustainable fishing and preserving the long–term health of our marine environment. We welcome mechanisms in the bill that commit to working with devolved administrations to create a more successful and sustainable fishing sector.

Further commenting on behalf of the coalition, Dr Kenneth Bodles, RSPB said:

‘Fishing works much better under a common framework. This bill offers an opportunity for the four UK countries to co–design a new fisheries policy that supports sustainable fishing alongside a healthy marine environment.

We are calling on the relevant authorities in Northern Ireland to grasp this opportunity to work together on fisheries management and improve the health of our seas for all. It is vital that the people of Northern Ireland who care for our seas and the livelihoods which depend on them also have a say in the future of our sea.

For further details contact:

Dr. Jade Berman, Living Seas Manager, Ulster Wildlife
Direct Line: 028 9046 3127
E–mail: Jade.Berman@ulsterwildlife.org

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