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Fisheries Management Plans

Volume 742: debated on Thursday 14 December 2023

Today, as required by the Fisheries Act 2020, the joint fisheries statement, and the England environmental improvement plan 2023, the UK Government are publishing the first five fisheries management plans (FMPs). These make full use of our new post-Brexit freedoms, to establish world-class fisheries management.

FMPs set out policies to maintain or increase stocks to sustainable levels (or contribute to doing so). The plans cover king scallop, crab and lobster, whelk, bass and channel demersal non-quota species. The plans for scallop and bass have been developed jointly with the Welsh Government and apply to English and Welsh waters.

These plans include a combination of short-term actions that will be taken to protect stocks such as increasing minimum sizes, and longer-term approaches, such as proposals to manage levels of fishing. They use the latest scientific evidence, and we have worked closely with the commercial and recreational fishing sectors to ensure these plans support coastal communities. Where appropriate the plans also propose actions to reduce the effects of fishing on the marine environment, such as the effects of trawling on the seabed.

Following closure of a public consultation on the draft FMPs in October, we analysed the responses and have made a number of changes to the plans, including bringing forward plans for sustainable fishing levels in key fisheries, removing a proposal for a minimum conservation reference size for cuttlefish, streamlining regulations and addressing environmental risks.

As well as continuing to develop the next tranches of FMPs, our focus will now turn towards delivering and implementing the policies and measures within the FMPs, ensuring that we have a prosperous fishing sector for future generations while safeguarding, restoring and enhancing the marine environment on which industry and wider society depends.

Finally, we are publishing the summaries of consultation responses and Government response to the consultations on the fisheries management plans which will also be available on the website.