Fisheries

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 2nd March 2022.

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Photo of Margaret Ferrier Margaret Ferrier Independent, Rutherglen and Hamilton West

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made of an assessment of the impact of (a) offshore wind farms, (b) underwater cabling and (c) marine protected waters on British fishing fleets.

Photo of Margaret Ferrier Margaret Ferrier Independent, Rutherglen and Hamilton West

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will publish an impact assessment for offshore wind farms on British fishing fleets.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Marine licensing decisions and Marine Protected Area (MPA) designation and management are devolved matters. The information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Government is committed to a sustainable and thriving fishing sector, to delivering 40 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, and to ensuring healthy and productive seas. To help deliver on these commitments Defra is leading a cross-Government programme of work to consider Marine Spatial Prioritisation. The overarching goal of the programme is to optimise the use of our seas, balancing the needs of sea users and protection of the marine environment. As part of this, projects are underway to consider the cumulative impacts of marine developments on fisheries and to identify opportunities for co-location.

In order for developments to be consented their impacts on other sea users, including fishermen, have to be considered. The impacts on the fishing industry of MPAs are assessed when new sites are designated and when byelaws regulating those areas are developed. MPA can have benefits for fisheries and their sustainability. Increases in abundance and density of fish stocks arise from better protected, healthier environments. Studies show that uplifts in stock can spill over into adjacent areas that allow fishing, benefitting commercial and recreational sectors.

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