Marine Environment News in Brief - June 2020

UK future relationship with the European Union

The UK government is seeking an agreement with the EU similar to that concluded with Canada and other friendly countries.

The draft fisheries framework agreement paper indicates that the UK will no longer accept the ‘relative stability’ mechanism for sharing fishing quotas and, instead, proposes that future fishing opportunities should be based on the principle of zonal attachment.

Read the policy papers on the UK’s approach to the future relationship with the EU, including the draft fisheries framework agreement on the UK Government website.

Highly Protected Marine Areas Review

The review, led by former Environment and Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon, has concluded that such sites are an essential component of the Marine Protected Areas network for Secretary of State waters (i.e. the English inshore and offshore and Northern Ireland offshore zones). The review defines HPMAs, and outlines how they should be identified and managed.

Read the HPMA review on the UK Government website.

MPA Fisheries Management Toolkit

Successfully involving the fishing sector and stakeholders in decision-making over the management of fisheries in marine protected areas (MPAs) is essential. JNCC’s MPA Fisheries Management Toolkit addresses the rationale for management, as well as providing a framework for effective stakeholder engagement and governance. The toolkit aims to support the fishing industry in contributing to the decision-making process.

The MPA Fisheries Management Toolkit can be accessed on the JNCC website.

MMO Compliance and Enforcement Strategy

The draft Environment Bill sets out how the UK’s environmental protections will exceed those currently applied under domestic and European Union legislation. In addition, DEFRA’s 25 Year Environment Plan includes the intent to leave the environment in a better state for future generations. In light of this the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has revised its own monitoring of compliance and enforcement to ensure that the environment, public health, and legitimate uses of the sea are properly protected.

Read the Compliance and Enforcement Strategy on the MMO website.

Read the Draft Environment Bill and Defra’s 25 Year Environment Plan on the UK Government website.

EU strategy to tackle biodiversity loss

The EU Biodiversity Strategy is part of the roadmap for making the EU’s economy more sustainable.

It proposes actions and commitments to halt biodiversity loss in Europe and worldwide by 2030, with a focus on unsustainable use of land and sea, overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, and invasive alien species.

Read the ‘Bringing nature back into our lives’ strategy on the EU website.

Sustainable development goals for the oceans

A series of papers to explore the pressing issues in the oceans have been commissioned by the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (HLP). This is an initiative from 14 serving heads of government committed to supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The papers summarise the latest science and state-of-the-art thinking on innovative solutions for moving toward a more sustainable relationship with the ocean. The Integrated Ocean Management Report draws on previous examples to identify existing barriers in policy and practice, and outlines a set of guiding principles toward successful integrated ocean management.

Read the Integrated Ocean Management Report on the Ocean Panel website.
A webinar presenting the report is also available.

UK Marine plans

A three year review on the impact of the marine plans for the English east inshore and east offshore marine areas has been published. This covers the marine area from Flamborough to Felixstowe.

Over the last three years, there has been an increase in the use of the plans, with a continuing integration into decision-making processes. However, there is some evidence to suggest that an update of the plans and their content should be considered.

Read the Marine Planning progress report on the UK Government website.

Consultations:

  • 22 June 2020: Northern Ireland Executive consultation on the river basin management plan
  • 5 August 2020: DG MARE's public consultation on the 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.