Marine Environment News in Brief - July 2020

Fisheries Bill

The Fisheries Bill passed through the report stage on 22 and 24 June, and started its third reading in the House of Lords on 1 July. This third reading provides opportunity for members to make sure the eventual law is effective and workable. 

Further information on the progress of the bill can be viewed on the Parliamentary website. 

Seafish’s (Future of Our) Inshore Fisheries Project

Inshore fishing is an important industry for many of our coastal communities; it can contribute significantly to regional economies and our cultural heritage. The Inshore Fisheries project aims to establish an effective inshore fisheries management system capable of delivering a viable and profitable inshore fishing industry. Resulting from last year’s Inshore Fisheries Conference, a report has been published containing the main findings. There is also an action plan, setting out the initial steps, to reform the management of UK inshore fisheries. 

Read the Future of our Inshore Fisheries conference report and action plan on the Seafish website

State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 

The FAO have published its State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020 report. Part 1, presents FAO’s official world fisheries and aquaculture statistics, and Part 2 focuses on various themes on fisheries and aquaculture sustainability. 25-years after the adoption of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (the ‘Code’), the importance of utilising fisheries and aquaculture resources responsibly is more widely recognised and prioritised. 

Read the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020 report on the FAO website.

FSA Sanitary surveys and new classification application form

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has altered the shellfish classification process for new shellfish harvesting production areas. This includes the sanitary survey and review process.
The changes affect the way in which the FSA both determines and reviews the sampling points and plans for the Official Control programme in each shellfish production area. These apply to all active and potential shellfish production areas in England and Wales. 

Read about these changes the FSA website.

Welsh Marine Plan Implementation Guidance and the Marine Area Statement 

The Welsh Government has published Implementation Guidance for the Welsh National Marine Plan (WNMP.) This Guidance aims to ensure that WNMP policies are implemented effectively and consistently. 

The WNMP and Implementation Guidance can be viewed on the Welsh Government’s website.

The Welsh Marine Area Statement sets out the goals and actions for the Welsh coastline, and inshore seas, extending out to 12 nautical miles. It is centred around three themes: 

  • building resilience of marine ecosystems; 
  • supporting the implementation of the WNMP and 
  • nature-based solutions and coastal adaptation. 

The Marine Areas Statement can be viewed on the Natural Resources Wales website. 

Defra’s 25 Year Environment Plan Progress Report 

This report describes the progress that has been made over the last year (April 2019 to March 2020) towards achieving the long-term vision of the 25-Year Environment Plan. It also highlights the serious challenges that remain and the work required to halt and reverse the decline of nature, and address climate change. 

Read the 25-Year Environment Plan Progress Report on the government’s website.

EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive - Implementation report and Marine Messages II

The European Commission has published an evaluation report on the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The report identifies that  persistent challenges still remain before Good Environmental Status is achieved, including issues associated with excess nutrients causing eutrophication; underwater noise; plastic litter; and unsustainable fishing. The report recognises that the condition of our seas determines their capacity to supply, for example, a habitable climate, food and certain raw materials, and it also supports our recreation, leisure and health.

Read the MSFD Implementation Report and annex on the European commission’s website.

The above conclusions are further reinforced by the European Environment Agency's "Marine Messages II" report. This provides information collected under EU directives; Common Fisheries Policy's data collection framework; Regional Sea Conventions (RSCs) and other international organisations; and EU level initiatives (i.e. the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet.) The report outlines the current use of Europe's seas and the effects on marine ecosystem conditions. 

Read the Marine Messages II report on the European Environment Agency's website.

Consultations:

  • 5 August 2020: DG MARE's public consultation on deep-sea fishing in the north-east Atlantic – evaluation of EU rules. 
  • 24 September 2020: Environment Agency consultation on future of rivers covering challenges such as dry weather, climate change, pollution and invasive non-native species.