Agenda and minutes

Venue: Virtual Meeting via MS Teams

Contact: Democratic Advisor  Email: democraticsupport@plymouth.gov.uk

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

26.

Minute's Silence for Leigh Spencer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Winter (Chair) advised that the meeting would commence with a minute’s silence in memory of Leigh Spencer, a fisherman from Millbrook, who had tragically lost his life at sea over the weekend.  He left a wife and two young children.

 

27.

Declarations of Interest

Councillors will be asked to make any declarations of interest in respect of items on the agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In accordance with the code of conduct Councillor Buchan declared a private interest as she was a Council representative and Vice Chair on the Devon and Severn Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority and a Cattewater Harbour Commissioner.

 

28.

Chair's Urgent Business

To receive reports on business which in the opinion of the Chair, should be brought forward for urgent consideration.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no items of Chair’s urgent business.

29.

UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement - Fisheries pdf icon PDF 173 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Tudor Evans, OBE (Leader) provided an overview of the following –

 

(1a)

the Council’s long term commitment to securing a sustainable future for the city’s fishing industry which included -

 

 

 

?

the lifejacket scheme which provided free jackets with locator beacons to fishermen had saved lives at sea;

 

 

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the refusal to allow the redevelopment of the city’s fish quay for restaurants, shops and accommodation;

 

 

 

 

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the select committee which had been held two years ago which listened to the industry and helped inform the Council’s Plan for Sustainable Fishing;

 

 

 

 

?

the support the Council provided to the Plymouth Trawler Agents, during the Covid, pandemic, in setting up Call4fish which helped fishermen from Berwickshire to Jersey to get their catch to customers;

 

 

 

 

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options were currently being explored, by the Council, on how to improve the fish market, to provide better facilities for the city’s fishing fleet;

 

 

 

 

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the Council planned for a bright future for the city’s fishing industry and was ready to make the most of the opportunities that had been promised by leaving the EU;

 

 

(1b)

a new era of prosperity for English fishing had been promised but had not been fulfilled which included -

 

 

 

?

taking back full and absolute control of UK waters out to 200 miles;

 

 

 

 

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the 12 mile limit was secured for the exclusive use for UK vessels;

 

 

 

 

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a greater share of the catch in UK waters;

 

 

 

 

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continued unrestricted access to European markets;

 

 

 

(1c)

the Council had written to George Eustice MP (former Minister of State for Agricultural, Fisheries and Food) and Victoria Prentis MP (Under Secretary for Farming, Fishing and Food) on three occasions seeking -

 

 

 

 

?

a meeting with local fishermen, in order to hear their concerns at the lack of readiness for the end of the transition period;

 

 

 

 

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more support for fishermen during the Covid crisis;

 

 

 

(1d)

the Council lobbied for English fishing to have a greater voice in the future management of its fisheries;

 

 

(1e)

the All Party Parliamentary Group on fishing had been addressed in order to put the city’s case direct to those MPs who would listen.

 

Rodney Anderson (former director of Marine and Fisheries at Defra) presented the report on UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement - Fisheries which highlighted the following main issues –

 

(2a)

the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (Agreement) -

 

 

 

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sets out the recalibrated quota distribution between the EU and the UK:

 

 

 

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sets out the process for determining the total allowable catch (TAC) for quota species;

 

 

 

 

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determined the future rights of access;

 

 

 

 

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afforded the UK with greater policy and regulatory autonomy;

 

 

 

 

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introduced tariff free access to the EU market (but there remained non-tariff barriers);

 

 

 

(2b)

there would be a five and a half year adjustment period, starting from January 2021, during which the value of catch the UK could take in its own Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) would increase up to an average of 25%;

 

 

(2c)

the government had calculated that the total value of the uplift to the UK, at the end of the adjustment period would be £146m (which  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Exports of fishery produce from Great Britain to the EU and NI pdf icon PDF 928 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Sarah Holmes (Legal Director, Womble, Bond, Dickson (UK) LLP) presented the report on export of fishery produce after 31 December 2020 from Great Britain to Northern Ireland and the European Union which highlighted the following key points -

 

(3a)

explained that she did not work in the fishing industry but had taken a personal interest regarding this issue and had spent several hundred hours drilling into the trading aspects, speaking to individuals and considering how to address these issues;

 

 

(3b)

whilst the report had been provided to Councillors late, they had more hours to read it, than the industry had to digest the new rules that were applicable to exports;

 

 

(3c)

the table contained within the report summarised the processes applicable to the export of fishery produce from UK to the EU;

 

 

(3d)

the report contained the documents that were required to export fishery produce which included Economic Operator and Registration Identification (EORI) number, catch certificate, export health certificate, customs declaration and movement certificate; these had been included to demonstrate the level of bureaucracy that was now required;

 

 

(3e)

the trade barriers faced by the fishing industry had been as a result of the UK leaving the single market and had been apparent four years ago; there had been a lack of information provided by the government on the changes required, or advanced preparation being made at ports; this had resulted in a permanent loss of competitiveness for British fishing vessels and their produce in the sector’s biggest market, the EU;

 

 

(3f)

although the Department of International Trade had managed to roll-over most of the trade agreements that the UK previously traded under, not all of the preferential terms had been retained; the only new trade agreement had been the Japan/UK Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (which was substantially based on the Japan/EU trade agreement with some additions relating to e-commerce and financial services) but had less preferential provisions; there were no net gains for UK fishery produce in terms of access to markets in the rest of the world available to replace lost EU exports;

 

 

(3g)

there were no tariffs or other customs duties or quotas when trading with the EU, to both export goods to the EU and to import goods from the EU; however in order to benefit from this provision goods must originate in the UK or EU; whilst this was feasible for fishery produce, for other sectors such as manufacturing this was more challenging;

 

 

(3h)

small businesses could find that the cost of veterinary inspections to sign off the export health certificates would be more than the profit margin on small consignments; there had been a great deal of prejudice caused by the lack of knowledge, understanding and the real impact of leaving the EU;

 

 

(3i)

there needed to be an evidence-based discussion and evaluation with politicians and the industry, relating to what was needed to facilitate continuing fisheries exports; the main barrier had been the government prioritising regulatory autonomy over UK business competiveness; evidence of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

Recommendations

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee agreed to recommend the following recommendations for approval by the Cabinet -

 

(1)

regulatory changes the UK can make independently to facilitate trade and ensure a level playing field for UK fishermen;

 

 

 

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for example the regulation of fishing within the 6 – 12 mile limit;

 

 

 

(2)

regulatory flexibility that could realistically be negotiated with the EU through the mechanisms afforded in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement;

 

 

 

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for example the regulations governing the depurification of bivalves;

 

 

(3)

where regulatory barriers cannot be changed but apply an additional burden to UK fishermen to provide an effective subsidy arrangements that ensure a level playing field with their EU counterparts;

 

 

 

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for example around the costs of compliance with the need for Export Health Certificates and Catch Certificates; this might be supported by an EFRA select committee enquiry into the impact of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the potential for this to be mitigated by the implementation of the Fisheries Act;

 

 

 

(4)

ask that the UK government could support the industry -

 

 

 

 

(a)

through measures to stimulate the UK market -

 

 

 

 

 

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the role of the crown procurement service is supporting initiatives like Fish on Fridays in UK schools;

 

 

 

 

 

 

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requiring UK supermarkets to ensure that the fish they sell is as fresh as possible eg sourced locally where this is possible;

 

 

 

 

 

(b)

by ensuring that the voice of the UK fishing industry is heard -

 

 

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secure a role for local authorities in agreeing statutory fisheries management plans envisaged by the fisheries and a corresponding duty to consult with the local industry;

 

 

 

 

 

(c)

considering the future of the fishing industry -

 

 

 

 

 

 

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securing the workforce of the future and establish suitable apprenticeship schemes;

 

 

 

 

 

 

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upgrading the infrastructure the industry depends on, the quays and auctions;

 

 

 

 

 

 

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the potential for electronic auction technology to be integrated with customs to reduce the administrative burden on the export industry;

 

 

 

 

(5)

measures that Plymouth City Council can take independently -

 

 

 

 

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working with Brittany Ferries and AB Ports and the French customs authorities to secure the Plymouth/Roscoff route;

 

 

 

 

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continue to support the industry across the South West peninsula and beyond through measures like Call4fish;

 

 

 

 

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work with Sutton Harbour Holding and other partners to upgrade the fish quay;

 

 

 

 

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explore how the Council can work with large retailers locally to improve the opportunities for selling local fish;

 

 

 

 

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review the opportunities area available within the city to improve training and apprenticeships within the fishing industry.

 

Officers were asked to review these recommendations with the expert panel members and industry witnesses present at the scrutiny meeting.