Marine Environment News in Brief - June 2021

Our monthly marine environment news update for June 2021.

Credibility, the seafood supply chain and climate change

Though fisheries management has improved significantly over the past 30 years, the seafood industry continues to make headlines for the wrong reasons. The Seafish Common Language Group discussed sustainability and fake news. To view the presentations, follow the links below:

Climate change is an important strategic challenge for fisheries and aquaculture. Seafish’s Aquaculture Common Issues Group provided a global perspective with a practical example of how climate change has impacted UK prawn production. To view the presentations, follow the links below: 

Environment Bill

The Bill has now completed its passage through the House of Commons and had its second reading in the Lords on 7 June. The Committee stage is expected to begin on 21 June.

The Government has proposed a number of amendments to the Bill. These include a commitment to halt the decline of nature by requiring the Government to set and meet a new legally-binding target on species abundance for 2030. There will also be reform of the Habitats Regulations which will be set out in a Green Paper later this year. 

There are also plans to bring forward amendments to reduce the harm from storm overflows to rivers, waterways and coastlines. New duties will be placed on the Government to publish a plan to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows by September 2022 and report to Parliament on the progress towards implementing the plan.

The proposed amendments to the Environment Bill can be viewed on the Government website.

G7 Ministers’ Communique: Climate and Environment

The UK took on Presidency of the G7 group of nations this year. Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa have been invited as guest countries to this year’s summit, which takes place in Cornwall on 11 to 13 June.

Ahead of the meeting, a Ministers’ Communique on Climate and the Environment has been published. This acknowledges the concern that the unprecedented and interdependent crises of climate change and biodiversity loss pose an existential threat to nature, people, prosperity and security.  

Read the full Ministers’ Communique on the UK Government website.

Seven asks of the G7

The United Nations (UN) has declared the next ten years will be the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, recognising the enormous challenges facing our blue planet. 

The G7 has a unique opportunity to lead the global ocean protection and recovery needed to tackle climate disruption, reverse biodiversity loss, support human wellbeing, and to embark on a successful, inspirational recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ahead of the G7 summit, scientists of the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) have released a statement of seven ‘asks’:

  1. Ban destructive extraction of ocean resources;
  2. Unite to regulate and eliminate ocean pollution;
  3. Expand effective ocean protection, management and restoration for people, biodiversity and climate;
  4. Catalyse and coordinate action on ocean, carbon and climate;
  5. Prioritise nature-based solutions and support ocean science;
  6. Close the gaps in ocean governance and finance;
  7. Mainstream ocean education;

Read the full Scientist Statement for G7 on the IPSO website.

UK joins the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance

The UK is the second G7 country, after Canada, to become a full member of the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Network (ORRAA).

ORRAA is a multi-sector collaboration between governments, financial and insurance institutions, environmental organisations, and other stakeholders. Its purpose is to build resilience in the regions and communities most vulnerable to ocean risk, through incentivising investment in nature-based solutions to climate change. The investment is used to enhance marine and coastal ecosystems  to increase resilience and mitigate the impact of climate change on coastal communities.

Through the UK’s G7 and COP26 UN Climate Conference Presidencies, ORRAA will be uniquely placed to bring governments and stakeholders together to drive investment in nature-based solutions and to build resilience in vulnerable coastal communities.

The Future of Fisheries Management

Fishing into the Future (FITF) is a UK Charity run by fishermen and fisheries experts. In April FITF held an event on creating a dialogue around fishing, science and policy. It provided an opportunity for people in fisheries to explore the concept of co-management, share experiences and diverse approaches to management and science, and discuss their ideas for the future of UK fisheries.

FITF have recently published an event summary on their website that encourages a commitment to the language of co-management in future fishing policy. A recording of the event can be found on the FITF Facebook page.

Fishing and Windfarms

The All Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) on Fisheries held an event covering UK Fishing and Offshore Wind. It explored how the fisheries and offshore wind sectors can collaborate and ensure optimal marine planning outcomes for all involved.

A recording of the event and a policy brief can be found on the APPG website.

Plastics and fishing gear

As part of the implementation of the Single Use Plastics Directive, the European Commission has proposed new measures on reporting lost fishing gear and facilitating its retrieval. The new reporting measures will allow the quantities of fishing gear placed on the market to be compared with those collected. This will give the recycling business a clear view of the opportunities and provide the necessary input for the Commission to establish binding Union collection targets in the future.

Further detail, including the implementing legislation, can be found on the European Commission website. With the UK’s EU-Exit, the four nations are understood to be looking at options to address plastics arising from both end-of-life fishing gear and aquaculture equipment.

Scientific Understanding and Proposed Regulation for Norovirus in Shellfish

The shellfish sector is strictly regulated to minimise the risk of transfer of human pathogens such as norovirus to consumers. A workshop was held by the Shellfish Centre (Bangor University) and supported by Seafish and the Shellfish Association of Great Britain. It brought together representatives from the shellfish industry, EU regulatory agencies and researchers to discuss approaches to regulation of shellfish quality and production.

The Norovirus workshop report is available from the Shellfish Centre website.

Consultations

  • 14 June 2021: Scottish Government consultation on the UK Dolphin and Porpoise Conservation Strategy.
  • 22 June 2021: Welsh Government consultation on river basin management plans for Western Wales and the Dee.
  • 30 July: DAERA (Northern Ireland) consultation on amendments to the Marine Licencing (Exempted Activities) order (Northern Ireland) 2011.
  • 10 October 2021: DAERA (Northern Ireland) consultation on the third cycle river basin management plan 2021 to 2027.

Contacts

Contact our Regulation team on regulation@seafish.co.uk