Charting a Course to Sustainable Fisheries Post-Brexit

Photo by Arthur Goldstein on Unsplash
Grantee The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Grant Amount £164,000.00
Duration Two Years

Oceans 5 supports a collaborative project between The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and the WWF-UK. The project aims to influence the UK’s post-Brexit fisheries legislation to create sustainable and climate-positive regulatory requirements.

 We are in the midst of interlinked nature and climate crises.  Ocean health is vital if we are to combat climate change, recover biodiversity and build resilience.  We have two years to put in place the building blocks that will deliver on our ten-year window to avoid global temperature increases. We have a major opportunity to work on ocean recovery as the UK leaves the EU and sets in place new legislation and governance for marine and fisheries management. This proposal seeks to capitalise on this window and secure the urgent action to address both the nature and climate crises and help bring about ocean recovery.

 The way we manage our fisheries is about to change.  The EU Common Fisheries Policy has governed fisheries in UK waters since the early 1970s and over that time climate change and overfishing have continued to accelerate the decline of our seas, with the UK failing to meet 11 of the 15 indicators of ocean health.  As we leave the EU, there is a clear opportunity to turn this around and develop a sustainable fisheries and marine management regime across UK seas to enable ocean recovery.

 A Fisheries Bill (to replace EU law) has been introduced to the UK Parliament to provide a broad framework for fisheries management. A Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS) will provide a common policy framework to achieve the Bill’s objectives. The JFS requires agreement across the four UK countries and will be prepared over 2020-22. Securing sustainable fishing practices via binding commitments is crucial to tackling the nature and climate emergencies.

 Our advocacy-based approach will utilise our established UK presence, commission science-led reports, run public facing campaigns and hold parliamentary events to create sustainable and climate-positive regulatory requirements in a post-Brexit UK. Our advocacy activities will:

 1. Leverage re-invigorated political will and community support to raise awareness of the need for fisheries and marine management reform to promote ocean recovery

2. Support the integration of legally binding commitments in the Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS) and each administrations Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs)

 By the end of 2022, the outcomes we seek are four legally binding commitments enshrined in the JFS, FMPs or other domestic policies or legislation. The deliverables will be commitments to achieve the following:

1. Secure at least 30% of UK seas as highly or fully protected (not merely designated) by 2030.

2. End overfishing and set out a pathway for the restoration of all stocks to above sustainable levels

3. Verify documentation of catches in UK waters via Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) and cameras on all vessels

4. Develop a UK fisheries net zero strategy