Marine Protected Areas: Fisheries

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 17th June 2022.

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Photo of Peter Aldous Peter Aldous Conservative, Waveney

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will mark World Oceans Day by committing that the UK will ban (a) bottom-towed fishing gear and (b) other destructive fishing activities from all offshore Marine Protected Areas.

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

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

We have designated over 100 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) since 2010, so that now 40% of English waters are within the protected area network. We have already committed that the next step is to ensure all of our MPAs are properly protected, supported by our proposed legally binding target under the Environment Act which we are consulting on at present. We have already introduced byelaws in the first four sites which ban bottom towed gear over sensitive habitats and published a call for evidence relating to the next thirteen sites. We are aiming to have all MPAs in English offshore waters protected from damaging fishing activity by 2024.

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