Marine Environment News in Brief - December 2022

This month we highlight the UK joint fisheries statement, protection for sharks, the commencement of a Welsh marine conservation zone and more.

UK Joint Fisheries Statement

The UK Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS) has been published. This sets the direction for fisheries management in the UK over the coming years, recognising that a healthy marine environment underpins a healthy fishing sector and thriving coastal communities. The formal response to the consultation on the draft JFS has been published.  

Protection for sharks

At the Convention on Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting, government representatives agreed to restrict international trade in sharks & rays. This includes new protections for all requiem sharks (including reef sharks, Tiger and Blue Sharks), hammerheads and guitarfishes. The listing of the requiem sharks is particularly important as their fins represent the vast majority (85-90%) of the fins in trade.

A private members Bill to prohibit the import and export of shark fins and to make provision relating to their removal from sharks on board fishing vessels is being considered. The Bill is due to have its report stage and third reading on 20 January 2023.

All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Fisheries

A recording of the APPG Fisheries ‘Fishing in a Changing Seascape’ event held on 30 November is now available. A policy brief summarising the event and capturing the key discussions will be published soon.

Welsh Marine Conservation Zones

Following publication of Biodiversity Deep Dive, commissioned by the Welsh Government to assess how nature recovery across land and sea can best be accelerated, the Minister for Climate Change, Julie James, has announced the commencement of a Welsh Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) designation pre-consultation engagement process. Further details on the process and engagement opportunities can be found on the Welsh Government website. 

Global treaty on plastic pollution

Plastic pollution is considered one of the greatest threats to the marine environment. Current global commitments are expected to reduce the annual discharge of plastic into the ocean by 7% by 2040 (Breaking the Plastic Wave report by the Pew Charitable Trusts). In March 2022, a United Nations (UN) resolution was agreed to develop a legally binding global treaty. Subsequently, UN Member States agreed to a schedule of five Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) meetings, aiming to finalise the treaty by the end of 2024. The first of these was held on 28 November, with the UK government attending.

Nature Recovery for Our Survival, Prosperity and Wellbeing

The UK's Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies have published a Joint Statement ‘Nature Recovery for Our Survival, Prosperity and Wellbeing’ that highlights the critical role of nature recovery to our survival, future prosperity and wellbeing. Published for the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, occurring 7-19 December) and building on the Nature Positive 2030 report, the statement stresses the need to deliver on the ambitions of the new Global Biodiversity Framework.

Ocean Literacy Report

Recent surveys undertaken in England, Wales and Scotland have highlighted the overwhelming value the public place on the marine environment for their mental and physical health. Over 80% of those taking part noted how crucial it is to protect our ocean and almost 70% identified marine litter and plastic pollution as the greatest threats to the marine environment.

Coastal Future 2023

Bookings are now open for Coastal Futures 2023 (25-26 January) which will be held in person at the Royal Geographical Society (London) and also online. Main topics for discussion include the climate challenge, marine restoration, fisheries management, and MPAs.


  • 3 February 2023: DAERA consultation on the Outline Strategy for Future Marine and Fisheries Support 2023 – 2028.
  • 28 February 2023: OSPAR consultation on proposed expansion to the North Atlantic Current and Evlanov Sea basin Marine Protected Area (NACES MPA).
  • 20 March 2023: Scottish Government consultation on Highly Protected Marine Areas.


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