As we move into a new era for seafood producers in Britain, I am committed to creating a fishing industry that Yorkshire can continue to be proud of – from sea to plate.
Since leaving the EU, we have taken back control of our waters. We have started to pave a new way forward for the fishing industry, underpinned by our landmark Fisheries Act – the first domestic fisheries legislation in almost 40 years.
At the end of last year, we reached fisheries agreements with Norway and the EU, ensuring that quota exchanges will continue.
For fishermen across Bridlington, Whitby, Scarborough and beyond, we have secured a significant uplift in quota for smaller vessels since we left the EU.
So far, across the UK, we’ve seen an increase of around 15 per cent and by 2026, this will be around £146m which rights a historic wrong and provides a real, tangible boost for those who catch and process seafood in the UK.
Our work to cement the bright future of the fishing industry continues.
This month, we have launched a consultation on the Joint Fisheries Statement, which was an important commitment in our landmark Fisheries Act.
It is a joint framework on fisheries management by the UK Government and devolved governments, and I want to encourage all of those in the sectors involved to respond.
It sets out our commitments to sustainable fisheries management, and how we will achieve the eight objectives outlined in our Fisheries Act, to ensure a healthy marine environment and a modern and resilient fishing industry.
It covers three main areas: protecting and recovering our fish stocks; reducing the effects of fishing on the marine environment, and supporting our fishing industry.
What we are outlining today recognises the importance of the industry, upskilling, succession planning and promoting the consumption of locally-caught fish.
This joint commitment between the devolved governments builds upon other support offered to the UK fishing industry which will ensure that it can reap the benefits of our withdrawal from the EU.
Recently, the Fisheries Minister was pleased to tell readers of The Yorkshire Post about the second and third components of the £100m UK Seafood Fund, which will help to rejuvenate the fishing industry up and down the country.
Our £65m infrastructure fund will invest in projects to strengthen the supply chain in the UK, allowing the industry to make the most of increases in quota secured through the Trade and Co-operation Agreement.
Meanwhile, a £10m Skills and Training fund will support career opportunities and upskilling in the sector to ensure the industry has the right skills, capacity and expertise.
Too often the industry has lacked formal routes for training and progression. I am determined that this will change, and that we will use this funding to help level up coastal communities around the country.
This follows the announcement of £24m to support cutting-edge science and research for the sector across the UK.
This will see the fishing and seafood industry working jointly with scientists to research new types of fishing gear, gather new data to sustainably manage the UK’s fish stocks, and trial projects such as new biodegradable packaging for chilled fish and seafood to reduce single-use plastics.
Now we are an independent coastal state, we have an opportunity to create a sustainable and productive fishery which celebrates our historic industry.
In Yorkshire, and beyond, I am confident that the Joint Fisheries Statement will help deliver a promising future for the British seafood industry.
George Eustice is the Environment Secretary.