Marine Environment News in Brief | February 2023 | Seafish

Marine Environment News in Brief - February 2023

This month we highlight the latest reports published, the economic impact of the retained EU law bill and helping the fishing industry go green.

Water quality and shellfish

Seafish have published a blog looking at water quality and shellfish production. This highlights the work being undertaken to improve the UK’s application of the Official Control Regulations and also introduces the ‘Developing an Assurance Scheme for Shellfish and Human Health’ project report.

Crustacean Mortality Expert Panel Report

The report of the independent panel appointed to consider the unusual crustacean mortality events occurring along north-east of England from early October 2021 has been published. The cause of these unusual events has been controversial, with the two prevailing theories being harmful algal blooms, and toxicity from pyridine released by local dredging activity. The independent panel concluded that it is not possible to identify a clear and convincing single cause for the unusual deaths, with a novel pathogen was considered the most likely cause despite the lack of direct evidence.

Progress in improving the natural environment in England 2021/22

Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) report on Progress in improving the natural environment in England 2021/22 has been published. It concludes that the natural environment remains under serious threat with government data showing that targets relating to improving water quality and halting species decline are not being achieved. The pace and scale of action required to deliver change has not been implemented by government.

State of the environment: Coastal and marine report

The Environment Agency (EA) State of the Environment: Coastal and Marine report recognises the many essential services that we receive from nature. These include food provision via fisheries and aquaculture, as well as flood and coastal defence, carbon sequestration, nutrient absorption, and improved water quality, as well as socio-economic benefits relating to recreation, tourism and improved health and well-being. The EA report concludes that to secure a more resilient, healthy and prosperous future, a step change is urgently needed that embraces a system wide approach for manging our activities.

Economic Impact of the Retained EU Law Bill

Wildlife & Countryside LINK have published an assessment of the economic cost of dropping or weakening EU environmental laws in four sectors: chemical regulation, water pollution, air quality, and habitats. This could reach £82bn over 30 years, with additional impacts including damage to protected sites, damage to the marine environment, and the arrival of more invasive species.

All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Fisheries

In November 2022, APPG Fisheries hosted a special open discussion session, bringing together fishers, policymakers, scientists and other marine stakeholders to explore ways to better integrate fishing and marine spatial planning. A policy brief synthesising the discussions and making key recommendations to policymakers has been published.

Helping the fishing industry go green 

Older vessel engines are some of the industry’s biggest polluters, with over half of the UK fishing fleet are now more than 30 years old, equating to annual energy use equivalent to 110,000 homes (read the report). Through the UK Seafood Fund, small-scale coastal vessels can now bid for up to £40,000 to trial hybrid and electric engines, and up to £20,000 to fund replacement petrol and diesel engines that are more environmentally friendly.


  • 28 February 2023: OSPAR consultation on proposed expansion to the North Atlantic Current and Evlanov Sea basin Marine Protected Area (NACES MPA).
  • 19 March 2023: MMO Call for evidence on ICES area 7d and Lyme Bay king scallop dredge fishery closure
  • 20 March 2023: Scottish Government consultation on Highly Protected Marine Areas.
  • 28 March 2023: MMO consultation on MMO management of fishing activity impacts in marine protected areas - Stage 2
  • 28 March 2023: MMO call for evidence on gear-feature interactions in marine protected areas - Stage 3.


Contact our Regulation team on  

We're always seeking ways to improve our content. Let us know how useful you've found our Marine Environment News in Brief, by using the feedback buttons below.