Marine Environment News in Brief - March 2022

The latest news on the Proposed Bill ‘Marine Protected Areas (Bottom Trawling)’, climate change impacts on aquaculture, consultations and more.

Wales Inshore Vessel Monitoring Systems (iVMS)

With the introduction of The Sea Fishing Operations (Monitoring Devices) (Wales) Order 2022, Wales has become the first country in the UK to require all commercial fishing boats to have monitoring devices. All licensed commercial fishing boats in Wales, including those under 12m, must be fitted with a Vessel Monitoring System. It is hoped that the knowledge gained from the devices will help to support the sustainable management of Welsh fisheries and the marine environment. For further information, visit the Welsh Government website

Scottish Regulatory Review of Aquaculture

The first stage of an independent review, to make the Scottish aquaculture regulatory system one of the most effective and transparent in the world and benefit rural communities, has been published. The Scottish Government has accepted all its recommendations in principle.

Development of English Fisheries Management Plans

Commissioned by the Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Associations (AIFCA), the New Economics Foundation (NEF) report examined seven wild capture shellfisheries in the context of the concept of Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs). The report identifies problems with the current management and makes recommendations for the future of the wild capture shellfisheries.

Scottish Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for Seabirds

Two new SPAs have been designated, the North Orkney SPA and Scapa Flow SPA, which together cover a total area of 529km2. These have been designated to protect rare and vulnerable migratory wild birds, which include the great northern diver and Slavonian grebe.

Proposed Bill ‘Marine Protected Areas (Bottom Trawling)’

On 1 March, Chris Graying (MP) introduced a motion to bring in a Bill to regulate and limit demersal trawling in marine protected areas (MPAs).The expectation is that the Bill will place a duty on the Secretary of State and Ministers to ban the activity in MPAs. The Bill will allow some very limited and careful exemptions, but only where they are necessary to support small-scale local fisheries and the smaller boats from local ports, and then only when the evidence of the nature of the habitats in a particular area makes that possible.

Water: Myths, Facts and Inconvenient Truths

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, outlined 3 myths, 3 facts and 3 inconvenient truths about water quality at the 2022 World Water Tech Innovation Summit.

Seagrass Restoration in England

Ocean Conservation Trust (OCT) will be planting seagrass seeds in Jennycliff Bay (Plymouth Sound) this month, building on the 1.5 hectares of seagrass planted last year. Planting will also begin at the mouth of the Beaulieu River (Solent). This is part of the work of the ‘Reducing and Mitigating Erosion and Disturbance Impacts affecting the Seabed (ReMEDIES) project; led by Natural England in partnership with OCT, Marine Conservation Society, Royal Yachting Association and Plymouth City Council/Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum.

Find out more about the project by visiting the Life Recreation ReMEDIES website.

Sharks Inspiring Action and Research with Communities (Project SIARC)

Through Project SIARC, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Zoological Society London (ZSL) are looking to enlist the help of fishers and other sea users across Wales to better understand some of the more unusual coastal species sharks, skates and rays. Project SIARC is an expansion of Angel Shark Project: Wales.

Agreement of a UN plastics treaty

At a meeting of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), a resolution to End Plastic Pollution has been adopted by 175 countries. This will create a legally binding global treaty to end plastic pollution by tackling the material’s entire supply chain by 2024.

Climate change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have published its 6th Report which assesses the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities. It also reviews vulnerabilities and the capacities and limits of the natural world and human societies to adapt to climate change. The report notes that climate impacts on ocean and coastal ecosystems will be exacerbated by increases in marine heatwaves which can lead to species population or habitat collapse. Climate change is also affecting ecosystem services connected to human health, livelihoods, and well-being.

Visit the IPCC's website to access the Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability report


  • 22 March 2022: Scottish Government consultation on Marine Litter Strategy.
  • 4 April 2022: Marine Stewardship Council consultation on the Review of the Fisheries Standard, which includes strengthening requirements for protected species, shark finning and ghost gear.
  • 12 April 2022: Defra consultation on the draft Joint Fisheries Statement.
  • 22 April 2022: Environment Agency consultation on draft river basin management plans, including protected shellfish waters.
  • 26 April 2022: Scottish Government consultation on permanence of Red Rocks and Longay MPA to protect critically endangered flapper skate.
  • 6 May 2022: Welsh Government consultation on Cockle Fishery Management Measures 2022.


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