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Environment Protection: Seas and Oceans

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely impact of the provisions in Article 9 of Council Regulation 2371/2002 on the provisions in the Marine Bill; what recent discussions he has had with (a) the European Commission and (b) his European counterparts on the establishment of measures to protect the marine environment beyond the six nautical mile limit; and if he will make a statement. (228074)

There have been no recent discussions between DEFRA and the European Commission, or my European counterparts, on the likely impact of article 9 of Council Regulation 2371/2002 on the Marine Bill, or the establishment of measures under article 9 for the protection of the marine environment beyond six nautical miles.

The legislative framework for the common fisheries policy (CFP) is due to be reviewed in 2012. However, the Commission is required to present a report on access arrangements to the Council and Parliament by the end of 2011. Subsequently, the Council will decide what provisions will apply thereafter. DEFRA will engage fully in this process to ensure that UK rights are not jeopardised, and that effective conservation measures are applied where needed.

In advance of the report, where we wish to protect a marine conservation zone in an area where foreign vessels have access, we will look to do so through the CFP to ensure the equal application of measures to all vessels.