Sustainable fisheries enshrined in law as UK leaves the EU

DEFRA has today (29th January 2020) announced the introduction of legislation creating the powers for the UK to operate as an independent coastal state and manage its fish stocks sustainably outside the EU.


The introduction of this Bill delivers a legal guarantee that the UK will leave the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in December 2020 at the end of the transition period. This will allow the UK to control who may fish in UK waters for the first time since 1973. The UK will now have to negotiate what rights EU fishing vessels will have to fish in British waters as the Bill now ends the current automatic rights to fish here.


The Bill also includes new measures for Devolved Governments and a single set of UK-wide fisheries objectives to ensure that fish stocks, and the marine environment, are better protected. Funding rules will also undergo changes allowing the UK government the ability to provide financial support for what is currently funded by the EU’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, such as training and port improvements.


Fisheries Minister George Eustice said:

The Fisheries Bill gives us the powers to implement our own independent fisheries policy, improve our marine habitats and make decisions based on the health of our fish stocks not vested interests.”

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For many people in coastal communities, taking back control and leaving the Common Fisheries Policy is at the heart of getting Brexit done, and this Bill delivers for the environment, fishermen and the Union.”


Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, said:

The central purpose of the Bill is to give UK Ministers powers to manage UK fisheries after we leave the Common Fisheries Policy. We very much welcome that.”


For more information on the bill, please follow this link:


Defra have also published a short animation on the Fisheries Bill, please follow this link:

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