Marine Environment News in Brief - May 2020 — Seafish

Marine Environment News in Brief - May 2020

Fisheries Bill

The House of Lords have proposed amendments to the draft Fisheries Bill which can be viewed on the Parliament website as a downloadable PDF. Various documents relating to the passage of the Bill through the House of Lords can be accessed on the Parliament website. A House of Commons Library insight article 'Brexit next steps: Fisheries’ outlines the current situation and what happens to fisheries policy after the transition period. 

Co-Designing the principles for defining low impact fishing

A Defra funded project to define low impact fishing has been undertaken by CCRI (University of Gloucestershire), New Economics Foundation (NEF), MRAG. This work seeks to identify the principles and criteria that can be used to define low impact fishing. So far it has involved a series of workshops held at Eastbourne, Brixham and North Shields which involved fishermen, academics and policymakers. A report on this work is expected soon. For more information on the project visit the CCRI (University of Gloucester) website.

Natural Capital Committee report 

A report by the Natural Capital Committee on using nature based interventions to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions warns that a narrow focus on carbon and greenhouse gas emissions risks increasing global warming and damaging the environment. The report also notes the importance of carbon cycling in the UK’s marine ecosystems is largely ignored in natural capital accounting. Coastal ecosystems such as saltmarshes, sand dunes and seagrass beds sequester carbon faster and more efficiently per unit area than terrestrial forests. Other benefits from the better management of marine natural capital include food production, recreation and wellbeing, and flood water storage and protect from extreme weather events. You can view the report on the Government website.

Researchers identify long term changes in the UK Plankton Community

Plankton are the microscopic algae and animals that support the entire marine food web and their communities form a key part of marine natural capital, supporting globally important ecosystem services including fish production and carbon sequestration. 

In response to the multiple policy drivers requiring an ecosystem approach to management, a concerted effort has been made to develop plankton indicators representing Good Environmental Status. Significant changes in this community have been recorded over the last six decades of monitoring in UK waters. These climate change mediated alterations are likely to lead to future changes in commercial fish stocks through influences on the prey available for larval fish. The research report can be found here.

FAO report on El-Nino and the impacts on fisheries and food security

The FAO have released a report on the impacts of El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. The report looks at a variety of sectors, including food security, safety at sea, fish biology, fishing operations and management measures. The report can be found on the FAO website.


  • 7 June 2020: Welsh Government consultation on management measures for whelks
  • 22 June 2020: Northern Ireland Executive consultation on the river basin management plan
  • 24 September 2020: Environment Agency consultation on future of rivers covering challenges such as dry weather, climate change, pollution and invasive non-native species