UK follows up successful fisheries negotiations with management plans, funding for domestic projects

UK fishing boat leaving port

The U.K. government complemented its recent signing of lucrative deals with Norway and the E.U. for 2024 by announcing five post-Brexit fisheries management plans (FMPs) that outline how the government will collaborate with the fishing industry and other stakeholders to sustainably manage its fisheries in the long term.

The primary goal of the new plans, which mainly cover U.K. stocks of crab, lobster, king scallop, and sea bass, is to improve the economic viability of key commercial fishing stocks through measures such as increasing minimum conservation reference sizes (MCRSs) and introducing seasonal or area closures to protect juvenile and spawning stocks.

Though the FMPs focus on achieving long-term sustainability, there are several short-term measures that the plans have prioritized. These include introducing new or increased MCRSs for crawfish, brill, lemon sole, and turbot; establishing an engine restriction for fishing vessels using flyseine fishing nets; accelerating work to address the effects that mobile bottom-trawl nets have on the ocean seabed, particularly in the U.K. scallop fishery; and fostering collaboration with stakeholders to develop an action plan that results in the sustainable harvesting of cuttlefish, among other goals.

U.K. Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer confirmed the FMPs are a result of direct dialogue with the fishing industry over many months and that they will help to “deliver sustainable stocks and a modern and profitable fishing industry for the future.”

National Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations (NFFO) CEO Mike Cohen said fishers and the communities in which they work have more to lose than anyone if there is a lack of sustainable management. To Cohen, these plans represent a “genuinely ambitious attempt to do that important job better.”

“With knowledgeable stakeholders involved and good quality science at the heart of the process, FMPs are well placed to sustain and grow our fishing fleet’s ability to keep providing affordable, healthy, low-carbon food,” he said.

Commenting on the king scallop and sea bass FMPs in particular, Welsh Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said the plans would ... 

Photo courtesy of Peter Moulton/Shutterstock

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