Access to market more important than control of our waters, says Green MEP in response to government’s Fisheries Bill

Molly with ‘Clovely Fish Dan’ (Dan Garnett) a fishmonger selling and cooking fresh, healthy, local North Devon fish.

Molly has responded to a consultation on Future Fisheries Policy calling on the government to give up ‘false rhetoric of taking back control of our waters.’ She has said that access to markets is far more important and has ‘spoken up for South West fishing enterprises’ by calling for the UK to remain a member of the Customs Union and inside the Single Market ‘as a minimum condition’ [1].

Molly said:

“The government needs to give up on its false rhetoric of taking back control of our waters. It is clear that access to market is far more important and I am speaking up for South West fisheries when I call for the UK to remain in the customs union and single market as a minimum condition. Brexit will not save the British fishing industry; in fact, it poses a severe threat to the sector.”

Molly also used her response to the Fisheries Bill to urge the government to prioritise the needs of smaller lower-impact fishing vessels and sustainably caught fish. She said:

“Many fisheries in the South West are small in scale, often sole traders, based in and owned by people from local communities. They tend to invest far more of their income into the local economy and so benefit coastal communities. They also invariably have lower-impact fishing vessels and fishing methods.

“The Government should note the strong commitment of food suppliers in the UK to sustainably sourced fish. However, much of the fish caught in the UK does not meet these sustainability standards. UK fisheries are therefore losing out on millions of pounds of business as UK buyers look abroad for sustainable fish.

“With the market for sustainable fish growing 10 times faster than for conventional seafood, the Bill should commit to increasing, year on year, the number of fisheries in the UK that are certified sustainable. A sustainable future for fishing is good for the environment and good for business.”

[1] Full response from Molly Scott Cato to White Paper on Future Fisheries Policy here