On Monday 23rd November the Fisheries Bill, the UK’s first major domestic fisheries legislation in nearly 40 years, passed into law. The new Act, The Fisheries Act 2020, allows the UK to become an independent coastal state and have full control of its fishing waters out to 200 nautical miles for the first time since 1973. This ends the current automatic rights for EU vessels to fish in UK waters and will enable the UK to control who fishes through a new foreign vessel licencing regime.
The UK Government and Devolved Administrations will now develop new fisheries management plans for managing fisheries.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
This is a huge moment for the UK fishing industry. This is the first domestic fisheries legislation in nearly 40 years, and we will now take back control of our waters out to 200 nautical miles or the median line.
“The Fisheries Act makes clear our intention to continue to operate on the world stage as a leading, responsible, independent coastal state. We will protect our precious marine environment, whilst ensuring a fairer share of fishing opportunities for UK fishermen.”
“By swiftly responding to the latest scientific advice and needs of our fishing industries we will secure a thriving future for our coastal communities.
As well as the new Act, the UK has also secured bilateral fisheries arrangements, with Norway, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland.