Marine Environment News in Brief - November 2021
Defra notification: Bycatch of marine mammals in wild-capture fisheries
Bycatch of whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals in fisheries is considered a key issue for their conservation and welfare. Defra and the Devolved Administrations are committed to tackling this.
A requirement for all wild-capture commercial fishers to report any incidental bycatch of marine mammals during fishing operations will be incorporated into licence conditions from 30th November 2021.
The data collected will be used by the UK bycatch monitoring programme to help identify, and where possible reduce, fisheries interactions. This requirement aligns with a broader programme of work to meet the Fisheries Act ecosystem objective to ensure that ‘incidental catches of sensitive species are minimised and, where possible, eliminated’. This is also necessary for the UK to continue exporting wild-capture seafood to the US from 1st January 2023 as required by the US Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Government seeks views on the management of sandeels and Norway pout
Sandeels and Norway pout are highly sensitive to changing environmental conditions and the increased effects of climate change. This, alongside industrial fishing methods, is considered to be negatively impacting stocks in the North Sea. Other commercial fish stocks, seabirds and marine mammals also rely on these species as a food source.
A call for evidence seeking views on potential measures to manage stocks of sandeel and Norway pout in UK waters has been launched. Further information can be found on the UK government website.
All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Aquaculture in the UK
Aquaculture is an increasingly important source of sustainable seafood in the UK. Different aquaculture sectors face different but overlapping sets of challenges. These include competition for space and resources, complex legislation, environmental issues such as water quality, and lack of access to resources. However, the industry has the potential to thrive and diversify, to become a core part of the UK’s blue economy, and to make a nutritious and sustainable contribution to seafood consumption.
APPG on Fisheries partnered with Seafood 2040 to explore aquaculture in the UK. A recording of the event is available on the APPG website.
Seafish campaign exploring climate change and UK seafood
This Seafish campaign seeks to highlight the importance of both mitigation (reducing our contributions to climate change) and adaptation (preparing for and responding to the impacts of a changing climate) for the Seafood industry. Businesses can sign up to a new e-alert service for seafood-relevant climate change updates.
From pollution to solution: Marine litter and plastic pollution
This United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) assessment examines the magnitude and severity of marine litter and plastic pollution and reviews existing solutions and actions. Plastics are the largest, most harmful and most persistent fraction of marine litter, accounting for at least 85 per cent of total marine waste.
The report concludes that while we have the know-how, we need the political will and urgent action to tackle this mounting crisis. The report will inform discussions at the UN Environment Assembly in 2022, where countries will come together to decide a way forward for global cooperation.
The Pollution to Solution report and other resources can be found on the UNEP website.
- 19 November 2021: Defra call for evidence for sandeels and Norway pout future management.
- 29 November 2021: Defra consultation on Marine Strategy Part Three: UK proposal for programme of measures.
- 30 January 2022: Defra consultation on Quinquennial review of species listings for schedule 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
- 22 April 2022: Environment Agency consultation on draft river basin management plans, including protected shellfish waters.
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