Marine Environment News in Brief - September 2020

Our monthly marine environment news update for September 2020

Environment Bill

The Government has set out how it will use legally binding targets under the Environment Bill to combat environmental and climate challenges. Long-term targets will be set in four priority areas:

  • Air quality: To support robust action to improve air quality to reduce public exposure to fine particulate matter.
  • Resource efficiency and waste reduction: To increase resource productivity and reduce the volume of residual waste and plastic pollution generated.
  • Biodiversity: To restore and create wildlife-rich habitats, increase species populations and to improve marine biodiversity.
  • Water: To improve water quality and tackle pollution from agriculture and waste water.

The Environment Bill and the proposed targets can be viewed on the Government website. You can also sign up for updates on the environmental targets as they are progressed.

Seafood Innovation Fund (SIF) Baseline Review

This SIF Baseline Review provides an overview of global state-of-the-art technologies and innovations that are relevant to the UK fisheries, aquaculture and seafood industries. The review covered 22 topics within four themes: ‘marine and land-based aquaculture’, ‘onshore supply chains and added value production’, ‘climate change’ and ‘marine fisheries’.

The outputs of the SIF Baseline Review are intended to:

  • Guide the assessment of submitted SIF proposals through providing wider context on the state of innovation.
  • Inform on priority areas for funding.
  • Ensure funding is awarded to truly innovative projects.
  • Identify gaps in specific topics on which proposals will be encouraged.

Read the SIF Baseline Review on the Government’s webpage.

Wales Angelshark Action Plan

Wales is one of the only places in north-west Europe with regular sightings of the Critically Endangered Angelshark (Squatina squatina) over the last decade. This species is protected through the Wildlife and Countryside Act and Environment (Wales) Act, but little is known about its status, ecology or the location of important habitats.

The Action Plan can be viewed on this website.

EU starts legal proceedings on cetacean bycatch

Following a challenge raised by 22 NGOs in 2019, Virginijus Sinkevičius, the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, urged the EU to take action on the bycatch of dolphins and other marine animals. Through a special request, the EU sort ICES advice on the scale of common dolphin bycatch in the NE Atlantic and harbour porpoise bycatch in the Baltic Sea, and the need for emergency measures. The ICES advice generally agreed with the NGOs. ICES also prepared a roadmap for advice on the bycatch of protected and endangered species to assess the risk and impact of fleet activity. These risk assessments will be included in the ICES Fisheries Overviews by 2022. The EU has now issued ‘Letters of Formal Notice‘, the first step in legal proceedings, to France, Spain and Sweden.

Read the ICES advice and roadmap, and the EU announcement on their websites.

Who’s who in UK fisheries management

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Fisheries (APPG) have published a ‘Who’s who’ for UK fisheries. This summarises the key players in UK fisheries management, outlining the roles and responsibilities of governmental, devolved and regional authorities.

Read the Fisheries Who’s Who on the APPG website.

Circular design of the fishing gear to reduce plastic waste

The EU have published a report that aims to build an understanding of the challenges and solutions to the design of fishing gear, and to advance recommendations for the development of guidance standards. The report highlights the need to effectively redesign, manufacture and market viable fishing gear to ensure these never become a waste product.

Read the design of fishing gear report on the EU website.

Skye Pilot Judicial Review

The Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation (SCFF) has lodged a petition for judicial review against the Scottish Government in the Court of Session. This concerns the handling of the Scottish Government’s Inshore Fisheries Pilot Programme and the decision to refuse a pilot proposal for the Inner Sound of Skye. The Skye Pilot was designed to create separate zones for trawlers and creelers in order to study the respective economic and environmental performances of these two forms of fishing for Nephrops as well as trialling local management options.

Read the SCFF’s briefing note on their website

Welsh Government Marine Planning Webinars

Five webinars have been made available on the Welsh Government Youtube channel:

  • Overview of the Marine Planning process and Marine Planning in Wales
  • An overview of the Welsh National Marine Plan (WNMP) content
  • WNMP technical content, including maps, the sector locational work and Strategic Resource Areas (SRAs)
  • Implementation of the WNMP
  • Monitoring and Reporting requirements for the WNMP

Easier access to the Welsh National Marine Plan policies and objectives is being provided through Marine Wales website, with specific policies in relation to fisheries and aquaculture.

UK Climate Change Risk

The UK Government is required to publish a climate change risk assessment (CCRA) every five years. The first risk assessment was published in 2012, and the second in 2017. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has a legal duty to advise the Government on these risk assessments. CCC has launched a new website to host all of the evidence provided. The UK Government and Devolved Administrations must then set out their responses to the risks and opportunities in their national adaptation programmes.

The UK Climate Change Risk website can be viewed here.


  • 24 September 2020:Environment Agency consultation on future of rivers covering challenges such as dry weather, climate change, pollution and invasive non-native spe
  • 22 October: Welsh Government consultation on reducing single-use plastic use in Wales.
  • 17 November: Defra consultation on UK Marine Strategy Part Two: Marine Monitoring.
  • 17 November: Welsh Government consultation on Marine Strategy Part Two: UK proposed marine monitoring programmes.


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