PUBLISHED: 20:58, Tue, Sep 1, 2020 | UPDATED: 21:12, Tue, Sep 1, 2020
MPs have been encouraged to back a flagship Brexit legislation which will implement controls on foreign vessels seeking to access UK fishing waters. Environment Secretary George Eustice said the Fisheries Bill gives the UK a chance to correct "shortcomings" in the EU-led approach to fishing for the "first time in almost half a century". It comes as the chances of a Brexit deal between the UK and EU seem "unlikely" according to Brussels chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
He told the Commons: "Overall the UK fishing industry currently has access to just around half of the fishing opportunities that are in our own waters and that cannot be right.
"The Bill before the House today gives the UK the powers that it needs to chart a new course as an independent coastal state. It gives us the powers we need to implement the approach we outlined in our fisheries White Paper published in 2018."
Mr Eustice said the legislation outlines the scientific and environmental principles which will guide future policy, adding to the Commons: "The Bill also gives us the power to control access by individual foreign vessels in our exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
"This includes the power to stipulate through a vessel licence firstly wherein our EEZ a vessel may fish, when it may fish there, what fish it may catch whilst there and what type of fishing gear it may or may not use.
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Britain has access to only half of the fishing opportunities in its own waters (Image: GETTY)
MPs have been encouraged to back flagship Brexit legislation which will new implement controls (Image: PTV)
"The ability to control and manage access to our waters will be crucial to ensuring that a fairer sharing arrangement prevails in future."
Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans confirmed the SNP's amendment to decline the Bill a second reading before it is "clear what kind of deal" will be made with the EU after the end of the transition period has been