Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs) | Seafish

Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs)

Information on what Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs) are, which plans we are helping to develop and opportunities for stakeholder engagement.

What are FMPs and why are they being developed?

You can watch a Future of Our inshore Fisheries video explaining what FMPs are and how they are being developed from the link below:

FMPs are evidence-based action plans, developed with input from industry and other stakeholders. They will set out a range of policies – based on scientific evidence – that detail how fishing is managed, by stock, fishery, or location. FMPs will be based on best available science, fisher experience, and policy objectives through participation of key stakeholders. This will include fishermen, researchers and regulators.

FMPs will provide the framework to build and maintain sustainable UK fish and shellfish stocks. They set out policies for keeping stocks at sustainable levels, or restoring them to sustainable levels where needed. Their purpose is to support a vibrant, profitable, and sustainable fishing industry for current and future generations.

Following Brexit, the UK Fisheries Act 2020 placed FMPs as the main tool for reforming UK fisheries management. The Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS) will provide a more detailed, follow-on document from the Fisheries Act when it is published in November 2022. It will set out the final list of Fisheries Management Plans. This will include the chosen stocks, the authorities involved, and the timetable for implementation. 

Responsibility for developing FMPs across the UK sits with the following authorities: 

  • In England – Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra)  
  • In Northern Ireland - Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)  
  • In Scotland – Marine Scotland  
  • In Wales – Welsh Government 

Once up and running, FMPs will be monitored, reviewed, and adapted as necessary to ensure they are fit for purpose. Effectiveness will be regularly assessed and reported on at least every three years, and reviewed fully every six years (as a maximum). Reports will note progress on the implementation of policies in an FMP and the subsequent effects on sea fish stock levels in the UK. 

Collage showing scallops shells, lobster on slate, crab on ice and pile of whelks
Scallops, lobster, crab and whelks are species covered in frontrunner FMPs

What are frontrunner FMPs?

Defra is developing six ‘frontrunner’ FMPs, which are being prioritised for delivery in 2023. These plans will cover the following species: 

  • Crab and lobster
  • Whelk 
  • King scallop 
  • Bass 
  • Channel non-quota demersal stocks 
  • Southern North Sea and Eastern Channel mixed flatfish 

These frontrunners will pilot different ways of preparing FMPs in partnership with industry and other stakeholders. Lessons learnt from these projects will help shape future FMP work. 

How are we involved in the development of FMPs?

In England, Defra has commissioned us as the delivery lead on two of the six ‘frontrunner’ FMPs that cover English waters only: 

  • The crab and lobster FMP  
  • The whelk FMP 

We are coordinating this work through our industry-led advisory groups, you can find out more about these groups from the links below: 

We are also supporting the Scallop Industry Consultation Group's Working Group in developing the FMP for king scallop in English and Welsh waters.

A stack of pots or creels on pier with boat in background

Are there opportunities to engage with FMP development?

Yes, stakeholders will be able to engage throughout the drafting process and then comment during the public consultation. 

We ran a roadshow of in-person and online stakeholder engagement events for the plans we are working on in autumn 2022. We will be publishing reports on this phase of engagement in the spring, if you have any queries in the meantime please contact our Fisheries Management team using the details below.

Contact our Fisheries Management team

If you have a query about our work on FMPs, please contact our Fisheries Management team by emailing

Find out more

A policy paper on FMPs is available on the UK Government website – you can access this from the link below:

You can also find a full list of FMPS and their timetable for publication from the link below on the UK Government website: