Gove’s support for a brighter future for Newlyn

Gove’s support for a brighter future for Newlyn

With Fisheries Minister George Eustice and Environment Secretary Michael Gove in Newlyn last year.

I am glad that the Environment Secretary has committed the Government to looking to support the regeneration of Newlyn and its fishing industry as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

Michael Gove made the promise as he made a statement on the White Paper ‘Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations’, setting out the Government’s plans for the industry following the UK’s departure from the EU.

The Environment Secretary said that from 2021 the UK would control fishing access to a 200 nautical mile “exclusive economic zone” around its coastline and that there was no reason the UK should be in a “weaker position” than Norway or Iceland – which retain 80% and 95% respectively of fish caught in their territorial waters.

In addition, Mr Gove said market access for fish exports – which has yet to be negotiated between the UK and the EU – would be treated separately from the question of access to each other’s waters.

The Environment Secretary’s statement will come as a relief for those working in the sector in Newlyn and West Cornwall and, with particular regard to Newlyn, it was pleasing that he recognised that Newlyn is one of the most important ports in the South West despite years of decline and the erosion of the fleet, skills and infrastructure as a result of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Mr Gove said the Government would do everything that it can to make sure that the harbour gets the investment it needs in order to regenerate and to take advantage of the additional opportunities that life outside the Common Fisheries Policy can provide.

Although I shared the massive disappointment that many felt when it was announced that, under the terms of the transition deal, fishing will effectively remain part of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy throughout the 21-month implementation period, there is no doubt that ministers are aware of the huge cultural and economic importance of the fishing industry to coastal communities and this is reflected in the White Paper.

I believe the fishing community in West Cornwall – individual fishermen and organisations like the CFPO (Cornwall Fish Producers Organisation) – deserve great credit for the way they have shared their knowledge and engaged constructively to help the Government understand the issues and the significance of the industry.