This post is by Helen McLachlan, WWF-UK’s fisheries programme manager and chair of Greener UK’s work on fisheries.
As the Fisheries Act receives Royal Assent, it is important to reflect where we have got to, four years after the Brexit referendum. From the outset of the legislative process, Greener UK urged the UK and devolved governments to take this once in a generation opportunity to establish the UK as world leaders in sustainable fisheries management.
The pandemic seems to have warped our sense of time. It was early spring and now, suddenly, it’s autumn. But Brexit has provided a strange bit of consistency throughout the period. After a month’s pause, the EU and UK have continued to negotiate their future relationship which is hardly surprising given the looming deadline. While the UK government could have requested an extension, it chose not to do so and the transition period will end on 31 December.
This post is by Sarah Denman, an environmental lawyer at ClientEarth
Whilst the Brexit drama plays out in parliament, the leaving process is being managed behind the scenes. As part of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the UK government has had to produce a large number of SIs (or statutory instruments) to convert the existing body of EU law into our domestic statute book and make it fit for purpose. Read more
With parliament apparently unable to agree how to leave the EU, a second referendum and a decision to stay in the EU becomes a serious possibility. Most environmentalists I know were strongly pro-remain in 2016. They know how important the EU has been in raising environmental standards and pushing action on climate change. Read more
This post is by Griffin Carpenter, senior researcher at the New Economics Foundation.
Michael Gove has purportedly shown us what ‘taking back control’ really means, by drawing a 12-mile line around the UK for exclusive fishing access for British vessels. Now he has his sights set on an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200 miles (or the median line). On a map, this looks like a win for British influence in the world, reminiscent of times past and conquering new territory. But the nature of influence and the transboundary movements of those pesky fish mean that this drive to etch battle lines has the notion of control completely backwards. Real control requires co-operation and shared management. Unfortunately, the idea of control offered by the most buccaneering Brexiteers does not seem to involve much co-operation at all. Read more
This post is by Lyndsey Dodds, head of UK and EU marine policy at WWF.
Since the EU referendum, there has been much talk of the ‘sea of opportunity’ for fisheries but little detail on what it will look like in practice and how we can go further than the status quo, to become world leaders on sustainable fisheries management.