The Fisheries Bill, after a long and at times tortuous journey, has successfully completed its final parliamentary scrutiny stage. The House of Lords accepted the amendments made in the House of Commons and didn’t pass any further amendments of their own. In truth the House of Lords had run out of constitutional ways to shape the legislation.
The Bill now goes to the Queen for signature and will become the Fisheries Act 2020. This could be within the next week.
Despite its sometime difficult passage across, over a general election and two separate administrations, the end result looks very similar to the original Bill tabled by the Government, with a few technical improvements. A number of potentially damaging amendments, which if successful would have replicated some of the most grievous weaknesses in the Common Fisheries Policy were defeated.
The Act will provide the legislative framework for future fisheries management in the UK for the next 20, or perhaps 40 years. It was essential, therefore, that the new framework avoided the pitfalls of the CFP and delivered the potential for a much more agile and flexible system.
Behind the scenes, the passage of this landmark Bill has involved a mountain of work and the NFFO has been helped by parliamentary specialists, Connect, to arrange meetings with key legislators and prepare briefing notes at all of the key stages.