Marinet publishes proposals for the UK fishing industry following Brexit

Marinet has assessed, October 2016, where the UK fishing industry currently stands in terms of the size of UK stocks which are severely depleted from a historical perspective, and in the context of the unsustainable nature of fishing practices brought about by the dominance of large fishing vessels abetted by the introduction of the quota system under the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

The decision of the EU Referendum to leave the EU has brought a once in a lifetime opportunity to address this situation, and to map and determine a new set of policies for the management of UK fish stocks, the UK fishing industry and the health of our seas out to the limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone.

The full analysis and proposals may be seen here.

A summary of the proposals is given below:

“Let’s be very clear : fish need help. We have recorded the evidence of their decline precisely because of this. That decline is everyone’s responsibility, as is the remedy. The remedy is equally clear. It is the ecosystem approachecosystem approach An ecosystem-based approach to management represents a new and more strategic way of thinking. It puts the emphasis on a management regime that maintains the health of ecosystems alongside appropriate human use of the marine environment, for the benefit of current and future generations. This requires setting clear environmental objectives both at the general and specific level, basing management of the marine environment on the principles of sustainable development, conservation of biodiversity, robust science, the precautionary principle and stakeholder involvement. Ref, DEFRA, Safeguarding Our Seas, section 1.17 (2002). It is imperative to build the ecosystem approach into the management of our seas. Once done, fish and all other marine life will get the help they need.

With this overarching principle established, the steps in UK fisheries reform are as set out below:

  1. All fishing quota to be allocated to the British Registered Fishing Fleet.
  2. Under 10 metre boats are given 50% of the quota.
  3. All fishing catch is landed in UK ports and, where possible, a Black Fish public monitoring presence will provide the Marine Management Organisation with reports.
    For further details about Black Fish’s Citizens Investigation Network, see
  4. The economics of the reformed fishing industry to be regionalised, and for the maximum value for each fish landed to be encouraged through the use of appropriate fishing gear and localised end use customers.
  5. All UK fishing vessels to desist from global fishing, and where possible operate only within UK seas and traditional fishing grounds.
  6. Establish close links with Norway and Iceland Fishing Agencies for the management of the NE Atlantic.
  7. Provide protection to spawning and nursery grounds in UK seas in order to rebuild stocks, with this protection being administered by the fishing industry and, where practical, rolled out in conjunction with the principle of co-location with other users of the sea. Co-location with offshore energy, and in conjunction with shipping lanes, can protect both migratory routes and spawning and nursery grounds. Co-location needs to become a firm, default principle in fisheries and wider conservation management.


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