Waves splashing on the blue sea

Fisheries laws must continue to tackle overfishing after Brexit

New fisheries laws for UK waters must put sustainability at the heart of post-Brexit fisheries management. Leaks confirm that Westminster, at least, intends for new fisheries legislation to be in place before the UK leaves the European Union.

Eight environmental organisations, including ClientEarth, are urging the UK and devolved governments to ensure fisheries laws after Brexit will continue to tackle overfishing. A recent poll by Oceana revealed that two thirds of people in the UK are unconvinced that Brexit will help stop overfishing.

As a leading voice in the reform of the EU’s fisheries policy, the UK has helped shape policies to reverse the damage done by overfishing. New domestic fishing legislation should continue this positive work.

In line with the governments’ ambition to become world leaders in sustainable fisheries management, future policy should be science-based, following scientific advice when setting fishing limits to ensure fish stocks remain sustainable in the future.

The organisations have published 10 principles for governments to follow to help build a brighter future for our seas. These include effective legislation that goes beyond current EU commitments, and the setting of sustainable fishing levels.

The principles unveiled by ClientEarth, Greenpeace, Marine Conservation Society, New Economics Foundation, The Pew Trusts, RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts and WWF-UK set out how governments can build a brighter future for our seas. They highlight the need for:

  • Effective legislation that meets the governments’ ambition to be world leaders in sustainable fisheries management.
  • Good governance that includes a clear and transparent process of stakeholder engagement and decision making.
  • Sustainable fishing levels and accountability – legal requirement to fish below a level that allows fish stocks to fully recover, and to be fully accountable for all fish caught.

Catherine Weller, Head of Biodiversity Programme, ClientEarth, said: “Brexit must not mean lower environmental protection for marine life. Overfishing, catches of vulnerable species and damage to marine habitats are some of the major issues facing the seas around the UK. To create a sustainable future for the UK’s seas and the communities which depend on them, strong environmental protection must be built into the new fishing laws.”

A new legal framework would also set high standards for foreign fishing vessels seeking access to UK waters and guide us as we look to negotiate the multiple new agreements that will be required to allow our fishing fleets continued access to waters they have previously fished under European Union arrangements.

Share this...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail to someone

Damian Entwistle

Related articles

More from

  • Waves splashing on the blue sea

    Fisheries laws must continue to tackle overfishing after Brexit

    ClientEarth are calling for a new fisheries law that puts sustainability at the heart of UK fisheries management.

  • small fishing boat on water with dark pink sky

    Give the Baltic cod space to breed

    We’re approaching the 2020 deadline for sustainable fishing limits. We need to see Member States making consistent and responsible decisions on vulnerable fisheries.

  • chain, sea and sunset for story saying Secret EU minutes show unsustainable fishing quotas set with scant justification.jpg

    New EU data shows unsustainable fishing quotas set with scant justification

    EU fishing quotas were set higher than advised by scientists and the European Commission without sufficient economic or social justification, an access to information request has revealed. This breaches EU transparency law and undermines EU fisheries law.

  • Dover cliffs for story saying Government protection plan for vulnerable marine ecosystem falls short

    UK Government protection plan for vulnerable marine ecosystem falls short

    Proposed plans to protect vulnerable marine areas off the coast of Kent fall short and would set a bad precedent for the waters around the UK.

  • Explore our work

    Follow us

    Newsletters

    Get our regular email newsletters, they contain the latest updates on our work as well as features and articles about environmental issues, science and politics.