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Flagship Fisheries Bill becomes law - Defra

The Fisheries Bill receives Royal Assent after 10 months in Parliament

Yesterday (23 November) the UK’s first major domestic fisheries legislation in nearly 40 years passed into law. The Fisheries Act 2020 gives the UK full control of its fishing waters for the first time since 1973.

The Fisheries Act will enable the UK to control who fishes in our waters through a new foreign vessel licencing regime and ends the current automatic rights for EU vessels to fish in UK waters.

Underpinning everything in the Act is a commitment to sustainability, ensuring healthy seas for future generations of fishermen. The UK Government and Devolved Administrations will now develop new fisheries management plans for managing fisheries to benefit the fishing industry and the marine environment.

Healthy fish stocks, with the prospect of further fishing opportunities delivered through international negotiations, will help drive economic growth for coastal communities around the country by making sure the industry can continue to thrive for years to come.

The Act now places the UK on a firm legal footing as the Transition Period ends, with the ability to put in place and enforce new rules to protect our offshore marine protected areas - boosting the government’s Blue Belt of marine protection around England’s coast.

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.”

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