Update for our stakeholders from the Marine Management Organisation

An update for our stakeholders from the Marine Management Organisation

 10 June 2021

 World Ocean Day… in the Marine Super Year 

With the focus on the world’s oceans this week, in the middle of the marine ‘super year’, it’s apt to be updating you on how MMO has been playing its part.

To fulfil our remit, we must strike a balance in supporting sustainable industries while increasing protection for our seas to ensure a healthy, resilient, and diverse marine ecosystem.  To do this, we use scientific evidence, and very importantly, we listen to those who share our ambitions for the future sustainability of our seas.

Since I last wrote at the end of April,  we have been connecting with fishing industry bodies, our inshore fishing fleet, the cruise sector, marine leisure users, seafood exporters, wildlife organisations and marine developers among others on a number of relevant issues.

Supporting the fishing industry

 We’re sensitive to the challenges for the fishing and seafood industry and we continue to work hard to provide immediate and direct support to help businesses develop and succeed.

In the last year, we’ve delivered six funds and grant schemes on behalf of Defra, with around £40 million paid directly to over 2,300 fishing businesses and organisations so far.

The latest to be announced, the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme (FaSS), was launched in April and has already committed £3 million in support spending.  We’re about to commence a second phase for applications focussing on science and innovation.

The link for more information and on-line applications is here.  And as ever, our MMO grants team is available to help and advise on 03300 416579.

Please see our updated guide on the range of financial support and assistance across Government, which is available online here.

Improving our understanding

 We’re also talking to our inshore fleet about new vessel monitoring equipment to make sure suppliers provide a range of equipment suitable for every type of boat.  Almost 400 fishermen and women responded to our survey and there will be further meetings next week to share the findings.  For the first time, we will have verifiable data from under-10m vessels on where and when fishing is taking place – vital information that helps manage and protect sustainable fisheries.  The requirement will apply to all UK and non-UK boats fishing in our waters.  There is more information in our blog which you can read here.

Marine Plans

 The first comprehensive set of Marine Plans to guide development across England’s seas is now complete and on its final lap of clearance from Government departments.  The development of the Plans has been a mammoth task, based on evidence and consultation with hundreds of organisations around the country.  Their completion is a really significant step forward.  You can already explore the Marine Plans at this link.

Protecting our seas

To mark World Oceans Day, the government announced there will be a trial for highly protected marine areas (HPMAs), in 2022, to identify very sensitive sites where activity that could damage wildlife or habitats would be banned.

These sites may be in or outside existing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).  There are over 40 MPAs in England’s seas and MMO is working with other organisations across the marine system to assess and identify any additional protection measures that may be required in stages within the next three years.  Our consultations on byelaws for the first four priority sites have concluded and further work is underway to consider feedback we received and decide on recommendations.

We know that any new protections may cause concerns for other sea users, not least the fishing industry, and we will be consulting throughout the process, taking into account scientific evidence as well as potential social, economic, and environmental impact of the sites.

Working with the cruise sector

 This month, we launched a campaign to help protect MPAs from damage by large ships dropping anchor, potentially disturbing and damaging features such as seagrass, shellfish, and mammals. While there’s no regulation preventing ships from anchoring in such areas, we’re asking cruise operators to help by finding alternative anchoring or mooring locations.

We’re working on this in collaboration with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Cruise Lines International Association, UK Chamber of Shipping, the UK Hydrographic Office and Natural England.  There’s more info on this link, or email us on conservation@marinemanagement.org.uk.

Assisting exports

 Working with a business sub group, we’ve made further enhancements to our free, digital Fish Export Service (FES) You can find out more about these in our recent exporter bulletin

Our MMO teams continue to be on hand 24/7 to help by phone (0330 159 1989) and we continue to update our ‘one stop shop’ signposting to all the guidance and support available for exporters.

Here to help

 As always, we’re here to help and support you. Please keep in touch with your questions and your feedback via the contacts below, or contact me direct on tom.mccormack@marinemanagment.gov.uk so that we can continue to work together to help our vital seafood industry adapt, improve and thrive.


Tom McCormack

CEO | Marine Management Organisation

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