To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide legal protections for aquatic animals.
There is a range of legislation already in place to protect aquatic animals including the Salmon & Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975, Eels Regulations 2009, Conservation of Seals Act 1970, the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
The Joint Nature Conservation Committee has recently commenced the seventh Quinquennial Review of Schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Later this year, JNCC will make evidence-based recommendations to the Secretary of State as to which species warrant additional legal protections to secure their future conservation. The Government will consider any recommendations to add species to Schedule 5 or 8, at this point, once these recommendations have been submitted.
Further, the Fisheries Act's ecosystems objective contains a requirement to "minimise, and where possible eliminate bycatch of sensitive marine species". We will set out policies that will help to achieve this objective in the Joint Fisheries Statement, which is a UK-wide document.