Gove to Unveil Fisheries Bill to Take Back Control of U.K. Seas

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Environment Secretary Michael Gove will introduce a draft law into Parliament on Thursday to “take back control” of U.K. waters after Brexit and deliver one of the key planks of the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum.

The Fisheries Bill will allow Britain to decide who fishes in its waters after Brexit and on what terms, Gove’s department said in an emailed statement. That will free the country from the European Union’s “damaging” common fisheries policy, it said. The bill also proposes powers for the U.K. to set its own fishing quotas, and extends the ability to protect marine areas.

“The common fisheries policy has damaged the U.K.’s fishing industry and our precious fish stocks,” Gove said. “The bill will deliver a sustainable fishing industry, with healthy seas and a fair deal for U.K. fishermen.” Gove also pledged to involve the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland closely in fisheries management.

Britain’s fishing industry has been in decline for decades, and some of the areas that voted most strongly to leave the EU were coastal towns once known for their fishing fleets. One of the most bizarre moments of the referendum campaign saw U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage and rock star Bob Geldof trade insults from rival flotillas along London’s River Thames.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.