Control of access to UK waters is vital, says Derek Thomas

West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas has pressed the Government to “reject any future proposals from the EU that seek to wrestle away control of access to UK waters”.

Speaking during a debate on the Second Reading of the Fisheries Bill, he said: “Should the Government back down on their promises, the Bill cannot be delivered, and we will have failed and betrayed our fishing sector.”

Mr Thomas also said that the Government must not extend the common fisheries policy beyond 2020 or adopt an interim arrangement.

“My local fishermen welcome this Bill, broadly because its primary objective is to promote sustainable fisheries management,” he said.

“They are watching this closely, and they understand the risks of not getting this right. They are paying their mortgages, feeding their families and paying their taxes because of the fishing they do day in, day out, and we should take that seriously when considering their futures.

“They know more than anyone that sustainable fisheries management arrangements are the right thing, demonstrating a respect for the oceans and its contents and delivering a future for an essential food source and for skilled employment.

“They know that the UK, particularly Cornwall, is already a world leader in sustainable fisheries management.”

Mr Thomas urged Environment Secretary Michael Gove to ensure that the Bill takes on board the proposals of the Newlyn-based Cornish Fish Producers’ Organisation (CFPO) that the Government establishes a formal advisory council which includes fishermen and fishing experts to decide future fishing policy and strategy and to take a practical approach to sustainable fisheries management.