Berwick MP raises fishing concerns at PMQs

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan in Prime Minister's Questions.
Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan in Prime Minister's Questions.

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan raised the concerns of Northumberland fishermen during Prime Minister's Questions yesterday.

The Conservative questioned the Prime Minister about supporting our fishermen during the implementation period as part of the process of leaving the European Union.

She said: "The EU agreement published this week has sadly left my fishermen in Amble and the North East very anxious. While it is great news that we will regain control of our fishing grounds at the end of the implementation period, there is real concern that our EU colleagues might try to take advantage of our losing our voice in the CFP (Common Fisheries Policy) by altering discard rules or quota rules during the implementation period.

"Will the Prime Minister consider asking the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to prepare a financial mitigation plan to protect our fleet until 2021 should we need to do so?"

Prime Minister Theresa May responded: "The implementation period is there so that people have the certainty of being able to operate on the same basis until we reach the new partnership that we are negotiating. As I said earlier, in that new partnership, we want to take back control of our waters but ensure that British fishermen are not unfairly denied access to other waters and that we can rebuild our fishing industry. That is important.

"My hon. Friend mentioned quotas. It has been agreed that the stability key will not be changed, so the quotas that British fishermen will be operating under will not be changed. I know that DEFRA is looking actively at how we can ensure that we not only maintain our fishing industry, but enhance and rebuild it after we leave."

Afterwards, Mrs Trevelyan said: "The announcement this week has left many fishermen in our patch very concerned. It was important for us to hear the Prime Minister confirm that we want to take back control of our waters and ensure that British fishermen are not unfairly treated.

"We have a bright future as an independent coastal state which will allow our fishing industry to flourish once again. I will be providing non-stop support for our fishermen both back in Northumberland and here in Westminster to ensure that our fleet is protected, that we try and ensure there is a financial mitigation plan in place and that our fishermen are not unfairly treated."

Last week, Mrs Trevelyan also sought assurances for Northumbrian fishermen during questions to the Department of Exiting the European Union, when she raised her concerns regarding recent EU documents that took ‘an aggressive line’ on maintaining full access to our waters.

The Brexit Secretary David Davis said in reply: "The simple truth is that when we leave the European Union we will be an independent coastal state and, as a result, we will control our own waters.
"As stated in Defra questions last week, we will continue negotiations with neighbouring states about catch – because fish move – quotas, and all the rest of it. However, we will control our own destiny."