We are responsible for advising Government and industry on marine conservation and seascape issues in England’s territorial waters (from the coast out to 12 nautical miles offshore).
We have a vital role in ensuring that our seas are sustained and that biodiversity is recovered for future generations. We are advising on Marine Conservation Zones introduced through the Marine and Coastal Access Act. Combining these new zones with existing designated areas, such as European Marine Sites and the marine components of SSSIs and Ramsar sites, will provide an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas.
We also want to ensure that the use and management of the marine environment, outside protected areas, is more sustainable. We will work directly with fisheries and other industries, such as renewable energy and extractive industries to secure this objective. We will also influence policies and mechanisms, including a marine planning system.
In Marine our primary remit is to provide practical advice, grounded in science, to ensure delivery of the long-term benefits the government wants and that the natural environment needs:
We advise Government on the designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and competent and relevant authorities - primarily, but not only, the Marine Management Organisation and Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) - on the conservation objectives of MPAs and on operations that may impact on the features of the sites.
We have a lead role in monitoring and reporting on the state of an MPA network, in the context of UK reporting on the wider environment, required under the Marine and Coastal Access Act, Habitats and Birds Directives and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).
We provide advice to Defra on a wide range of issues and legislation supporting the implementation of Government policy and the achievement of international commitments including the Convention of Biological Diversity.
We provide advice to other government departments (e.g. DECC & CLG) and relevant and competent authorities on licensing and consenting of sea uses. We work increasingly closely with JNCC, with the aim of integrating MPA designation, monitoring and advice on management, and also wider policy advice to Government, across England’s seas out to 200nm.