The Environmental Policy Forum has called on Defra to undertake a "fundamental review of funding, partnerships and holistic fisheries management, covering the inter-connectivity of marine, transitional and freshwater environments."
The seven signatories of the response to Defra's White Paper on Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations were encouraged by the breadth and scope of the questions raised within the paper.
The group highlighted a list of key priorities to deliver the long-term sustainability of fisheries:
- The creation of clear and transparent criteria for the allocation of fishing opportunities.
- Re-focussing fisheries management and the allocation of fishing opportunities around sustainability principles.
- Enabling food security in the long-term and the creation of flexible and adaptive systems of management. We believe that the Bill should make explicit reference to the government’s policy on food security to recognise and value the benefit of sustainable fisheries in delivering government policy.
- The creation of greater opportunities for small-scale, low impact fisheries, in exchange for further and greater protection of our marine environment, including the move towards whole site protection of marine protected areas.
- The establishment of a transparent and robust fisheries enforcement system which incorporates the use of available and emerging technologies.
- The protection of essential fish habitats, critically including spawning and nursery areas, and whole site protection of marine protected areas, with access only on the basis to such areas where damage is proven not to occur.
- Temporal limitations on stock exploitation during vulnerable periods, such as spawning seasons.
- That the rent derived from fisheries exploitation internalises the costs of management.
- That recreational fishing opportunities are protected in the allocation of any fishing access, proportional to their potential impact on stocks, and that preferential access to certain stocks should be provided. More generally, sea angling representatives should be integrated into the management of fisheries.
- In the context of food security, the UK develops and enhances its biosecurity capability.
- In exchange for access to UK waters, the UK should establish agreed mediation procedures, including reciprocal arrangements to provide rapid and effective means of dispute resolution.