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Blog: Post–Brexit, what’s on the horizon for fisheries in Northern Ireland?

Hazel-Watson

Image by Hazel Watson

21st December 2020

By Dr Kenneth Bodles, RSPB NI Marine Policy Officer
and Heidi McIlvenny, Ulster Wildlife Living Seas Manager

The new UK Fisheries Act marks a seminal moment in addressing our relationship with the sea in a post–Brexit UK. Sadly, the Act falls short in securing the legal protection required to ensure sustainability, not only for fish stocks but also for the wider marine environment. The UK continues to fail on the delivery of 11 out of 15 key indicators which track the health of our seas. Securing robust and effective fisheries management is a crucial element of reversing this trend.

The next step for Northern Ireland is to work with the other UK administrations to set out how each of the eight Fisheries Objectives found on the face of the Fisheries Act will be delivered. This will be achieved through the Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS) which each of the UK administrations has committed to producing within the next 24 months. To safeguard the future of our marine environment, it is imperative that bold, ambitious and effective measures are at the core of the future JFS. Sustainability must be embedded from the outset and include within it, co–operation on shared stocks and targets for the development of effective fisheries management plans. It should also explore the use of technology to improve our understanding of fishing activity, including the use of remote electronic monitoring.

Chris-Gomersall

Image by Chris Gomersall

A recent opinion poll commissioned by RSPB NI revealed that 87% of people surveyed were concerned or very concerned about the future of our wildlife at sea, and 85% said they would support stronger interventions to protect and better manage our marine wildlife. Securing fisheries legislation that has sustainability at its core is vital for the recovery of our precious and important marine environment, on which we all rely.


More Blogs from Nature Matters NI…

Nature Matters – How radical policy reform can deliver a thriving future for farmers and nature

Nature Matters – The last bill standing: how delays to the Environment Bill mean we are heading into a governance gap

Nature Matters – How Covid–19 is affecting the Fisheries Bill

Nature Matters – How Covid–19 is affecting the Environment Bill

Nature Matters – How Covid–19 is affecting the Agriculture Bill

Nature Matters – How Covid–19 is affecting the parliamentary process

Nature Matters – To secure farm incomes, the environment is key

Nature Matters – Calling for change – a better farming future in NI

Nature Matters – Why we need a new farming policy for Northern Ireland

Nature Matters – Public Goods can help keep farmers farming

Nature Matters – Who we are and the importance of protecting the environment in Northern Ireland after Brexit

Making Brexit work for the environment in Northern Ireland

Farmer’s view: A sustainable agricultural system brings huge benefits

Environmentally Friendly Agriculture Policy Proposed in England – but what about Northern Ireland?