Defra consultations relevant to the work of the MMO

26 Jan 2015 02:45 PM

Defra is running a number of consultations relevant to the work of the MMO, on the demersal discards ban and marine licensing.

Details of all Defra consultations and related documents are published on an external website.

Demersal landing obligation

The demersal landing obligation is a ban on the discarding of fish. This prevents fish being thrown back into the sea after being caught, except when subject to specific exemptions . In particular, Defra is seeking views on five key areas of implementation including:

The consultation results will inform the Government’s policy position and negotiations with other Member States in the regional groups. These regional groups operate across our shared fisheries to ensure that the rules being applied are appropriate, fair and effective for all fishermen. The regional groups are due to submit demersal Discard Plans by June 2015 to the European Commission.

This consultation closes on 31 March 2015.

Marine licensing: changing how some cases are decided

The consultation covers proposals for a change to marine licensing as operated by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) on behalf of the Secretary of State.

The proposal is to introduce a mechanism whereby the Secretary of State can recover certain, complex marine licence decisions for her own determination.

The proposals would allow local planning authorities and Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCA) to seek an independent inquiry into certain complex cases. The final decision would be taken by ministers who are directly accountable to Parliament.

The change is expected to only apply to a limited number of cases that meet specified criteria. The draft criteria are:

The Secretary of State may recover a marine licence application for her own determination where she is satisfied that the application falls into either of the following categories:

1) The application is one where the MMO has received a formal representation from an LPA or IFCA affected by the proposal seeking determination by the Secretary of State and:


2) The application includes a novel activity that raises wider issues of national significance not covered by the UK Marine Policy Statement or other relevant marine planning documents, and could benefit from examination in public.

This consultation applies to English waters and the offshore areas of Wales and Northern Ireland where the Secretary of State is the licensing authority.

This consultation closes on 25 February 2015.