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Church News

Bishop urges ministers to appoint ‘fish and chips tsar’

by Press Association

Ministers have been urged to appoint a fish and chips tsar to promote domestic consumption of fish.

Rt Rev Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, theraised the suggestion at question time in the Lords.

UK fishermen were suffering from problems with post-Brexit disruption of fish exports, the bishop said.

“What’s the Government doing to increase fish consumption in the domestic market,” he asked. “Do we need a fish and chips tsar to encourage people to eat fish.”

Environment, food and rural affairs minister Lord Gardiner of Kimble said the Government was working with the industry on a “love seafood campaign” to encourage domestic consumption of “excellent fish that hitherto we have perhaps not consumed”.

Labour’s Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon said the Government had promised in the Brexit campaign to take back control of UK waters.

“The real truth is that we haven’t – not to the extent that fishermen thought we would,” she added.

Lord Gardiner said the trade co-operation agreement had made “some progress” in increasing quota, ensuring regulatory autonomy and controlling access to fishing.

Pressed on whether difficulties in sending Scottish seafood to the EU had been resolved, the minister said: “There is an overall improvement in the situation but we all agree more work needs to be done.”

Liberal Democrat Lord Teverson warned that many parts of the fishing industry were heading for bankruptcy.

Labour’s Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale said the “world class” Scottish seafood industry had been let down by lack of preparation for implementing the Brexit deal.

He said it had also been let down by “political polarisation” between the Scottish Government and the UK Government and urged ministers to learn lessons from this “disaster”.

Lord Gardiner said there was strong collaboration on fishing with all the devolved administrations and pledged this would continue.

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