Marine Management — Seafish

Marine and Fisheries Management Regulation

Seafood businesses should be aware of marine environment and fisheries legislation. This page explains what is relevant and where to get more info.

We are not responsible for regulating fisheries or the marine environment. However, we work closely with central Government, other regulatory bodies and the industry to provide advice and guidance. 

Fisheries Management Regulation in the UK

Since leaving the EU, the Fisheries Act 2020 replaced the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) as the legal framework for regulating fisheries in UK waters.

The act requires the UK fisheries policy authorities (Defra, and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) to publish fisheries management plans (FMPs) to help deliver an ambition for sustainable fisheries.

The Fisheries Act 2020 states:

  • The UK government and the Devolved Administrations will publish a legally binding Joint Fisheries Statement and develop to coordinate fisheries management plans and achieve sustainability goals
  • EU vessels’ automatic access right to fish in UK waters is removed
  • Foreign boats will be required a licence to fish in UK waters and will have to follow the UK’s rules
  • Fisheries are managed in a sustainable way - balancing social, economic, and social benefits while preventing the over exploitation of fish stocks
  • The UK fisheries administrations will seek to ensure increased benefits from fish caught by UK boats
  • Sensitive marine species, such as dolphins, are protected and the bycatch of unwanted fish reduced
  • UK boats can continue to access any part of UK waters, as they do now regardless, whether they are registered in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • UK administrations can set up new domestic grant schemes, providing funding in new areas and tailored to the needs of their sectors.

There is more detail on the Fisheries Act 2020 on the Government website Fisheries Act 2020 ( 

Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs)

Fisheries Management Plans, known as FMPs, are 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. 

You can find more information on FMPs in the Responsible Sourcing area of our website. Follow the link below.

Marine Environment Regulation

There are several legislation and international commitments regarding the general marine environment of relevance to the fishing and aquaculture industries.

These include legislation and commitments on:

  • Water and habitat quality
  • Bycatch and discards
  • Marine litter
  • Alien and invasive species
  • Climate change

Management of the marine environment is, however, extremely complex with no single body having overall responsibility. 

Our pages on Marine Environment Regulation and the Key Marine Environment Legislative Requirements provide more information on what is relevant to the UK.