Marine Environment News in Brief - November 2020 — Seafish

Marine Environment News in Brief - November 2020

Our monthly marine environment news update for November 2020

Fisheries Bill

The Bill had its report stage and third reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday 13 October and was passed with amendments. The Bill will now be returned to the House of Lords and will be considered on 12 November.

Read the proposed amendments to the Fisheries Bill on the UK Government website.

Environmental Standards from 1 January 2021

The UK Government has committed to maintaining environmental standards and international obligations from 1 January 2021. Existing European Union (EU) environmental laws will continue to operate in UK law. The following will also continue:

  • the UK’s legal framework for enforcing domestic environmental legislation by UK regulatory bodies or court systems;
  • environmental targets currently covered by EU legislation which are already being implemented; and
  • permits and licences issued by UK regulatory bodies.

From 1 January 2021, current legislation will be changed to:

  • remove references to EU legislation;
  • transfer powers from EU institutions to UK institutions; and
  • make sure the UK meets international agreement obligations.

Read the guidance on environmental standards on the UK Government website.

All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG): Local Decision-Making for UK Fishing 

This event, held on 29 September, explored how regional governance and decision-making for fisheries management can intersect with national decisions. The event outlined a number of successful case studies in regional decision-making for UK fisheries and fishing communities.

A recording of the meeting and a policy brief can be accessed on the APPG website.

Scottish Government Policy Intent paper on future fisheries management

The Scottish Government has published its analysis of the stakeholder responses received during the Future Fisheries Management Discussion Paper consultation held in 2019. 

The Future of Fisheries Management Policy Intent Paper can be read on the Scottish Government’s website.

It is expected that a strategy for Scotland's sea fisheries will be published before the end-2020. This will include a strong focus on sustainability, the need to respect biodiversity and take an ecosystem-based approach to management. Clearer links between fisheries and wider marine planning decisions will be incorporated to complement the developing action plan for the Blue Economy.

Seafish: Export and Imports of live bivalve molluscs from January 2021

Seafish held a webinar on 22 October which outlined the import and export requirements from 1 January 2021 for live aquaculture animals not for immediate human consumption. Presentations were given by Fish Health Inspectorate Scotland and Cefas. Please email to obtain a copy of the slides.

Outer Hebrides Inshore Fisheries Pilot area

Developed through the 2017 Inshore Fisheries Pilots Initiative, the Outer Hebrides Inshore Fisheries Pilot will commence in November 2020. This will test fisheries management measures including creel limitation within an area to the east of the Outer Hebrides.

A factsheet on the Outer Hebrides Inshore Fisheries Pilot Area is provided on the Scottish Government website.

Tagged skates and rays in Wales

Welsh Government and Bangor University scientists are tagging skates and rays around Wales with uniquely numbered and highly-visible tags (see image), to understand more about the population and their movement patterns. Please report any tags or tagged fish found, including details of the location, time and method of capture to Welsh Government (T: +443000253500 or Email: Fisheries.Science@Gov.Wales). The Welsh Government will arrange collection of the tagged fish where necessary.

Tagged skate next to rulers
Tagged Skate

EU study on impact of offshore wind and renewable energy on fisheries

This study provides an overview of general impacts of the development of offshore wind farms and other marine renewables on the European and UK fishing sectors. It highlights pathways for possible co-existence solutions, provides examples of good practice and lessons learnt, identifies research gaps and presents policy recommendations.

Read the impact study on the European Commission website.

UK Biodiversity Indicators Report 2020

Biodiversity supports the vital benefits humans obtain from the natural environment. It contributes to the economy, health and well-being, and it enriches our lives.

The UK Biodiversity Indicator Report 2020 has been compiled as part of the UK’s commitments to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Of relevance to the marine environment, ‘improving’ assessments are concluded for the following indicators:

  • Percentage of marine fish stocks harvested sustainably;
  • Biomass of marine fish stocks at full reproductive capacity; and
  • Total extent of protected areas at sea.

‘Deteriorating’ assessments are concluded for the following indicators:

  • Fish size classes in the North Sea;
  • Marine (coastal) invasive species;
  • Status of UK species of European importance; and
  • Status of UK habitats of European importance.

Read the UK Biodiversity Indicator Report 2020 on the UK Government website.

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Fisheries Standard Review

Every five years the MSC initiates a Fisheries Standard Review (FSR) to help ensure that assessment and the certification system remains a leading measure of fisheries sustainability. These reviews provide an opportunity to incorporate widely accepted new science and fisheries management good practice. The current MSC FSR has been extended by six months to late 2022. This will allow for additional input from stakeholders to resolve issues that are currently under review.

Further information on the FSR can be found on the MSC website.

MSC Ocean Stewardship Fund

Over £1 million in grants are available for fisheries at all stages on their path to sustainability, to provide research which helps fisheries meet good practice and to support fisheries’ long-term commitments to sustainability. There is also funding available for postgraduate student support and grants for innovation with the potential to make a practical difference for the safety of observers at sea.

Further details on the Fund can be found on the MSC website.


  • 17 November: Defra consultation on UK Marine Strategy Part Two: Marine Monitoring.
  • 30 November: Defra consultation on Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) of fishing vessels.
  • 11 December: Scottish Government consultation on environmental standards for the water environment.
  • 15 December: MMO consultation on its draft assessments and proposed management measures for five Marine Protected Areas:
    • Dogger Bank Special Area of Conservation (East of England);
    • Inner Dowsing, Race Bank and North Ridge (Lincolnshire coast in the vicinity of Skegness);
    • The Canyons Marine Conservation Zone (South West - Cornwall);
    • South Dorset Marine Conservation Zone; and
    • Studland Bay Marine Conservation Zone (Dorset).


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