Molly has said plans by the government to ditch EU legal commitments on ending overfishing by 2020 means that the government’s promise of a Green Brexit has ‘sunk without trace.’
Under the Common Fisheries Policy, EU member states are legally bound to set fishing quotas within a “maximum sustainable yield” – a limit identified by scientists to ensure the sustainability of fish stocks long-term. However, the UK government’s fisheries bill contains no catch limits and ministers have refused attempts to introduce one. This despite a pledge by Environment Secretary Michael Gove that the bill would ‘ensure better conservation measures, allow[ing] our precious marine environment to thrive.’
Molly, who represents a region that has important fisheries in Newlyn, Brixham and other ports, responded:
“The absence of any legal duty to limit catches in line with scientific advice is a sign that the government’s promise of a Green Brexit has sunk without trace. Enforcing catch limits and protecting marine ecosystems is vitally important in ensuring the future sustainability of fishing communities in the South West and across the UK.
“It is also clear that we will not be able to sell into European markets unless we meet European environmental standards, so allowing a destructive free-for-all will undermine fisheries livelihoods, when so much of the South West catch is sold direct into the single market.
“Taking back control of our waters was a myth created by Brexiteers. Fish move freely, so we need to work alongside our neighbours to agree appropriate limits to fishing in order to maintain and build up fish stocks. We are also bound by international law to agree, cooperate and ensure conservation of stocks.”