This week the Island’s MP, Andrew Turner took part in a debate on the UK’s Fishing Industry and its future. Mr Turner highlighted problems with the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the opportunities ahead post-Brexit.
The CFP gives equal access to fishing waters for all EU Member States, which has led to the decommissioning of the UK’s fishing fleet and unsustainably low levels of fish stocks. Mr Turner argued that as an independent country outside the EU, the UK could be fully responsible for its own waters and fisheries. To regain the power over fisheries could lead to a regeneration of fishing businesses on the Isle of Wight and in other coastal areas.
Mr Turner said during the debate:
“…the CFP is a fundamentally failed system. Any attempts to conserve our fish stocks through the CFP have always meant too little sovereignty for London and too little decentralisation from Brussels.
“…Now that we are leaving the EU, we must leave behind centralised quotas, equal access and subsidised ships. That will not bring back the estimated 115,000 UK jobs we lost due to the CFP, but I believe it will recreate new jobs along the coast. Equally importantly, we must regain control of our territorial waters. There are many challenges ahead of us in the upcoming Brexit negotiations, but, from a political and environmental perspective, the Government have a massive opportunity that must not be missed. I urge them to consider the example set by Iceland and to introduce fair, tradable national quotas, making the best use of our resources and, most importantly, making them sustainable so that they are protected for the future.”
Speaking after the debate Mr Turner said:
“Taking back control over our territorial waters is not merely symbolic. It will lead to real jobs and re-invigorate many coastal towns which have declined over the years.
“In responding to the debate the Fisheries Minister, George Eustice MP, confirmed that outside the EU, the UK would be fully responsible for the control of the waters in our exclusive economic zone and the resources within it, including fisheries. I very much welcome that and look forward to it”.