To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure that industrial fishing vessels operating off the UK coast (a) comply with environmental standards and (b) use fishing methods that do not present a risk to (i) dolphins and (b) other marine life; and if she will make a statement.
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has robust control and enforcement systems in place to monitor and enforce compliance with the full range of fisheries and environmental regulations. The MMO uses inspections at sea and in port to assure compliance by individual fishing vessels on key measures including those governing types and size of fishing gear. Technology, combined with intelligence-gathering, is used daily to ensure vessels do not fish illegally in protected areas where marine life could be adversely impacted by fishing activities.
We are committed to protecting vulnerable marine species such as dolphins and seabirds in UK waters. We are currently developing plans and implementing regional measures, in close collaboration with the fishing industry, to reduce bycatch of these iconic species.