Government uses Brexit freedoms to protect our seas - Marine Management Organisation

Confirmation of four Marine Management Organisation (MMO) byelaws to protect four offshore marine protected areas marks significant step towards the Government’s ambitious plans for nature recovery in our seas

Damaging fishing activity will be prohibited in four Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), the government has announced today. The move has been made possible by new post-Brexit freedoms which allow the government to protect rare habitats and wildlife in UK waters.

The byelaws, which have been subject to extensive consultation with industry and other stakeholders, will come into force in two months’ time (13 June 2022).

They are being introduced using new powers under the Fisheries Act, the UK’s first major domestic fisheries legislation in nearly 40 years. The new measures will prohibit fishing activities in MPAs where there is evidence that they harm wildlife or damage habitats.

The four byelaws ban the use of bottom trawls, dredges, demersal seines and semi-pelagic trawls, collectively known as bottom towed gear, over certain areas. There are also additional restrictions in two of the sites preventing the use of certain static gears such as pots, nets or lines over especially sensitive areas.

The byelaws will bring in management measures on fishing within these four MPAs in English waters: 

Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said: “Outside the EU, we are using our new freedoms to protect our marine environment. We will be stopping trawling and dredging in these Marine Protected Areas to protect wildlife and habitats, through powers we have in our Fisheries Act 2020.”

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Posted On: 14/04/2022

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