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Fisheries Bill: Commons second reading

21 November 2018


MPs debated the second reading of the Fisheries Bill on 21 November 2018. This Bill aims to provide a legal framework for fisheries after Brexit. The Bill passed its second reading and will now proceed to committee stages.

Second reading

Speaking for the government, Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said the following:

"Whatever position we may have taken in [the Brexit] referendum, taking back control of our waters, leaving the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), and becoming once again an Independent Coastal State gives us an opportunity to lead environmentally, to revive the fishing industry economically and to make sure that our coastal communities once more have the opportunity of a renaissance."

Sue Hayman, the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs joined the government in their commitment to support for those working in the fishing industry.

"will not, in our view, revitalise our left-behind coastal towns that have been hit hard by years of Tory austerity. [...] Having heard the Secretary of State outline his position just now, I am even more convinced that only a Labour government can secure the twin goals of a healthy marine environment and thriving coastal communities"

At the end of the debate, the Commons approved the second reading without division. The Fisheries Bill will now continue to committee stage.


Following Brexit, the UK will no longer be part of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). It will become an independent coastal state and be fully responsible for managing fisheries in the UK's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200 miles. This will include setting total allowable catches (TACs) and determining who has access to fisheries.

Proceedings on the Bill are expected to begin at around 2.45pm. Timings are approximate as Parliamentary business is subject to change.

Fisheries Bill 2017-19

Summary of the Bill

The Fisheries Bill, published on 25 October 2018, is a framework bill that will provide the UK Government with powers to set annual total allowable catches for UK waters, and provide the UK Government and devolved administrations with powers to the amend the fisheries regulations that will be transposed into UK law from EU legislation.

Keep up to date with all the proceedings and documentation, including amendment papers, on the Fisheries Bill and find out how a Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.

House of Commons Library analysis

The House of Commons Library produces briefing papers to inform MPs and their staff of key issues. The papers contain factual information and a range of opinions on each subject, and aim to be politically impartial.

The Library has published a briefing paper for second reading.

 Image: iStock

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