Marine Environment News in Brief - March 2021 | Seafish

Marine Environment News in Brief - March 2021

Our monthly marine environment news update for March 2021.

Live Bivalve Molluscs

Live bivalve molluscs for direct human consumption must be placed on the EU market via a dispatch centre. EU legislation specifies that live bivalve molluscs handled in dispatch centres must derive from either Class A production or relaying areas, purification centres or other dispatch centres.

It is the EU Commission’s position that live bivalve molluscs from class B or C production areas are intended for human consumption and must be placed on the EU market via a dispatch centre. As live bivalve molluscs from Class B or C production areas cannot meet the public health requirements for dispatch centres, they cannot be imported into the EU, even if destined to a purification centre.

Seafish is working closely with Defra to explore short and longer term options to ensure continuation of the trade, contributing regulatory expertise as well as innovation from our Developing an Assurance Scheme for Shellfish and Human Health (DASSHH) project.

Find out further information on classification and purification.

APPG Fisheries and Brexit

George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and Anne Freeman, Deputy Director of Domestic Fisheries and Reform at Defra outlined what The Fisheries Act 2020 and the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) mean for the UK’s fishing industry. The event explored the practical details of the legislation including access, quotas and trade.

Watch the recording of the event and written answers to questions available on the APPG website.

World Ocean Summit 2021

The World Ocean Summit took place virtually 1-5 March with over 8000 attendees and 170 speakers. The main conclusions from the event were the need for a more holistic and collaborative approach for management, with the need to break down silos between and within the different stakeholder groups. To paraphrase a quote from Fabien Cousteau at the summit, ‘we need to learn to live off the interest offered by the ocean and not eat into the capital’.

The sessions covered a variety of subjects including ocean governance and national ocean strategies, achieving sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, developing responsible supply chains, action towards the 2030 Marine Protected Area target of 30% coverage, reducing plastic pollution and maximising the potential of renewable energy.

For those registered for the event, recordings of the sessions can be viewed on the Economist website.

Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) Report ‘Growing back better: putting nature and net zero at the heart of the economic recovery’

The cross-party EAC have said that if the economic recovery from Covid-19 is not used as an opportunity to 'grow back better', then climate change and biodiversity collapse may deliver an even greater crisis.

The UK’s response will be pivotal in determining whether the commitments of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Paris Agreement on climate change will be met.

The EAC report, including a summary and the conclusions, can be read on the Government’s website.

Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund (NEIRF)

NEIRF is a new government fund to support the 25 Year Environment PlanGreen Finance Strategy and 10 point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. The aim is to stimulate private investment and market-based mechanisms to improve and safeguard the natural environment by helping projects get ready for investment.

Application need to link to natural environmental outcomes as outlined in the 25 year environment plan and the outcome indicator framework. This could include work that aims to maximise resource value and benefit with a view to doubling productivity by 2050, ensuring that all fish stocks are recovered to and maintained at levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield and ensuring that food is produced sustainably and profitably.

NEIRF can provide grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 to support the development of environmental projects in England. Project proposals must protect or enhance the natural environment in line with the 25 Year Environment Plan goals. Deadline for submission of applications is 26 March.

Further information and an application form can be found on the Government website.

Survey on environmentally friendly fishing gear

The Innovative Fishing Gear for Ocean (INdIGO) project is aiming to develop prototype biodegradable fishing gear and to improve the recycling of existing gear at the end of its life. CEFAS, one of the project partners, would like fishermen to participate in a survey that aims to develop an inventory of the types of plastics currently in use in the fishing and aquaculture sectors, and to identify what might or might not encourage fishermen to adopt biodegradable fishing gear. The survey will remain open until the end of March.

More information on the project and the survey can be found on the INdIGO website.


  • 28 March: MMO consultation on management of fishing activity in 4 MPAs: Dogger Bank SAC, Inner Dowsing, Race Bank and North Ridge SAC, South Dorset MCZ, and The Canyons MCZ.
  • 29 March: Scottish Government Clyde Mission Call for Ideas to recognise and use the Clyde as a national, strategic asset.
  • 22 June 2021: Welsh Government consultation on river basin management plans for Western Wales and the Dee.


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