Fisheries Management Plans


This page provides information and updates on the national process for developing Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs) under the Fisheries Act 2020. FMPs will be evidence-based action plans developed in collaboration with the fishing sector and other stakeholders. Their purpose is to deliver sustainable fisheries for current and future generations. Defra is responsible for preparing plans but will work collaboratively with delivery partners and the fishing sector to develop FMPs. Defra will also work with other marine industries, policymakers, scientists and environmental groups when preparing FMPs.

The Joint Fisheries Statement lists 43 proposed FMPs, the full list and their timetable for publication can be found below. Defra is currently developing 6 'frontrunner' FMPs, which are being prioritised for delivery in 2023. There will pilot different ways of preparing plans in partnership with industry groups and other stakeholders. Lessons learnt from these projects will shape Defra's future FMP work, and each frontrunner has a delivery partner who will work with Defra and stakeholders to draft the FMP. 

Stakeholders will have various opportunities to engage throughout the drafting process and through public consultations. This page is designed to signpost stakeholders to sources of information on each FMP, engagement opportunities and to provide updates from the delivery partners responsible for the development of each FMP. If you want to find out more, contact Defra's FMP team by email FMPs@defra.gov.uk, or contact one of the delivery partners listed to register your interest in a specific FMP. 

Please use the links below to view information on a specific FMP.

Fisheries Act 2020 Joint Fisheries Statement List of FMPs

Whelk FMP

The Whelk FMP will cover stocks in English waters only. Seafish is working closely with the Whelk Management Group, an industry-led advisory group to draft the FMP. 

For more information on the Whelk FMP, please contact Seafish at fisheriesmanagementplans@seafish.co.uk

Updates

Seafish, in collaboration with the Whelk Management Group has developed a first draft of FMP content including high level aims, objectives, and actions which should be taken to achieve these, and proposed initial management measures for the whelk fisheries in English waters. Seafish carried out a stakeholder engagement phase (November and December 2022) to update stakeholders on progress made to date and to gather views, feedback, and comments to help refine the draft FMP before submitting it to Defra in January 2023.

Defra invited stakeholders interested in the whelk draft FMP to join an online session in March for an overview of key points in the draft plans including initial proposals for management approaches and an explanation of the next steps. The sessions were recorded and will be made available to attendees and anyone who reserved a place but was unable to attend. The FMP will now go through public consultation and Seafish will work with Defra to refine the plan before publishing in September 2023.

Next Steps

  • Defra review process (February to March 2023)
  • Formal public consultation on draft FMP by Defra (April to June 2023)
  • Shellfish FMPs will be finalised and published (Autumn 2023)

Engagement Opportunities
There will be further opportunities to give views during the public consultation which will take place before the plans are finalised, published and implemented.

Whelk FMP Factsheet Seafish Website January 2023 Update Whelk Management Group

Bass FMP

The Bass FMP is a joint plan between Defra and Welsh Government and will cover stocks in English and Welsh waters. Policy Lab have been commissioned by Defra to help facilitate the co-design of the bass FMP. Policy Lab is part of the Department for Education and specialise in co-designing policy with stakeholders.

Updates
To date, Policy Lab have facilitated the following engagement opportunities:

  • Evidence Discovery and Expert Interviews (March-May 2022) Policy Lab conducted interviews with 13 key stakeholders, identified through their engagement with Defra, desk research and initial stakeholder mapping
  • Lived Experience Research (June-August 2022) engaged with 90 stakeholders across England and Wales
  • Collective Intelligence Debate (August 2022) nationwide online debate 276 total participants 
  • Co-Design (September-November 2022) Policy Lab conducted five in-person workshops in three locations (Plymouth, Milford Haven, Lowestoft) and four online workshops. In total 72 external stakeholders attended the workshops. All bass stakeholders on Policy Lab's mailing list were invited to take part in an online co-design survey. They received 477 responses
  • Co-Refine (November-December 2022) via an online survey, 449 stakeholders replied to specific questions about how solutions could work for them

Next Steps

  • Final report: Policy Lab's final report has been submitted to Defra and Welsh Government. The report with a supporting executive summary will be published in due course (the date will be confirmed by Defra and Welsh Government). Defra and Welsh Government will take Policy Lab's work forward into a draft final sea bass FMP which will go out for public consultation in summer 2023 ahead of final publication of the new sea bass FMP in December 2023

For more information on the Bass FMP, please contact Policy Lab at bass@policylab.gov.uk

Bass FMP Factsheet Policy Lab FAQ January 2023 Update

Crab and Lobster FMP

The crab and lobster FMP will cover stocks in English waters only. The Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish) is working closely with the Crab and Lobster Management Group, an industry-led advisory group to draft the FMP. 

Updates
Seafish in collaboration with the Crab and Lobster Management Group has developed a first draft of FMP content including high level aims, objectives, and actions which should be taken to achieve these, and proposed initial management measures for the crab and lobster fisheries in English waters. Seafish carried out a stakeholder engagement phase (November and December 2022) to update stakeholders on progress made to date and to gather views, feedback, and comments to help refine the draft FMP before submitting it to Defra in January 2023.

Defra invited stakeholders interested in the Crab and Lobster draft FMP to join an online session in March for an overview of key points in the draft plans including initial proposals for management approaches and an explanation of the next steps. The sessions were recorded and will be made available to attendees and anyone who reserved a place but was unable to attend. The FMP will now go through public consultation and Seafish will work with Defra to refine the plan before publishing in September 2023

Next Steps

  • Defra review process (February-March 2023)
  • Formal public consultation on draft FMP by Defra (April-June 2023)
  • Shellfish FMPs will be finalised and published (Autumn 2023)

Engagement Opportunities
There will be further opportunities to give views during the public consultation which will take lace before the plans are finalised, published and implemented.

For more information on the Crab and Lobster FMP, please contact Seafish at fisheriesmanagementplans@seafish.co.uk

Crab and Lobster FMP Factsheet Seafish Website January 2023 Update Crab and Lobster Management Group

King Scallop FMP

The King Scallop FMP will set out aims and objectives and management proposals that will apply to all commercially harvested scallops (dredged and hand-dived) from all English and Welsh waters. The FMP will apply to all vessels, of all sizes, and from all nations which operate in English and Welsh waters (UK and non-UK). King scallop fisheries were prioritised for FMP delivery in 2023 based on environmental, social, and economic factors, and in recognition of the work that has already been done by the Scallop Industry Consultation Group (SICG) to develop future scallop fisheries management.

The king scallop FMP work is being led by the SICG Working Group (SICGWG); this is an industry-led co-management group which brings together scallop catchers, processors, and UK administrations. The SICGWG has developed a first draft of FMP content including high level aims, objectives, actions which should be taken to achieve these, and proposed initial management measures for the king scallop fisheries in English and Welsh waters. The SICGWG carried out a stakeholder engagement phase to update stakeholders on progress made to date and to gather views, feedback, and comments to help refine the draft FMP before submitting it to Defra in January 2023. The FMP will now go through public consultation and the SICGWG will work with Defra to refine the plan before publishing in September 2023.

Updates

The SICGWG has developed a first draft of FMP content including high level aims, objectives, and actions which should be taken to achieve these, and proposed initial management measures for the king scallop fisheries in English and Welsh waters. The SICGWG carried out a stakeholder engagement phase (September to November 2022) to update stakeholders on progress made to date and to gather views, feedback, and comments to help refine the draft FMP before submitting it to Defra in January 2023.

Defra invited stakeholders interested in the King Scallop draft FMP to join an online session in March for an overview of key points in the draft plans including initial proposals for management approaches and an explanation of the next steps. The sessions were recorded and will be made available to attendees and anyone who reserved a place but was unable to attend. The FMP will now go through public consultation and the SICGWG will work with Defra to refine the plan before publishing in October 2023.

Next Steps

  • Defra review process (February-March 2023)
  • Formal public consultation on draft FMP by Defra (April-June 2023)
  • Shellfish FMPs will be finalised and published (Autumn 2023)

Engagement Opportunities
There will be further opportunities to give views during the public consultation which will take lace before the plans are finalised, published and implemented.

For more information on the King Scallop FMP, please contact Seafish at fisheriesmanagementplans@seafish.co.uk

King Scallop FMP Factsheet Seafish Website January 2023 Update Shellfish Industry Advisory Group

Channel Non-Quota Demersal Stocks FMP

The Channel NQS FMP covers International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) divisions 7d (eastern channel) and 7e (western channel). It will include important demersal (bottom living) species without agreed catch limits (quota), such as:
* gurnards
* cuttlefish
* squid
* octopus
* john dory
* lesser spotted dogfish

The plan is being developed by the Marine Management Organisation. Background information on the project, a summary of engagement to date, current work and next steps can be found online using the "Channel Non-Quota Demersal Stocks FMP" link below. 

Updates
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) joined a forum hosted by the Angling Trust in July to discuss development of the Channel demersal Non-quota species Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) with recreational anglers. MMO has published a more detailed overview of the feedback it received from the forum and we encourage recreational fishers to keep on giving us their thoughts at fmp@marinemanagement.org.uk

Next Steps
The MMO are holding a fresh set of quayside conversations with fishers in ports on the south coast to get their views on ongoing development of the Channel demersal non-quota species FMP. In the meantime, a working group with industry representatives and an evidence advisory group have been set up and are working on developing the plan, ahead of a formal consultation later this year.

Engagement Opportunities
The MMO is particularly interested in what fishers think of the vision and goals proposed for the FMP and any other matters relating to the FMP during sessions to be held in February and March. There will also be sessions online for fishers who may struggle to meet in person. The MMO are encouraging fishers to keep an eye on MMO social media channels, the MMO website and for posters in harbours to find out more. 

For more information on the Channel Non-Quota Demersal Stocks FMP, please contact the Marine Management Organisation at fmp@marinemanagement.org.uk 

Channel Non-Quota Demersal Stocks FMP Factsheet Channel Non-Quota Demersal Stocks FMP Engagement Events Engagement Update January 2023 Update   Recreational Feedback

Southern North Sea and Eastern Channel Mixed Flatfish FMP

The Southern North Sea and Eastern Channel mixed flatfish FMP covers the English waters within ICES divisions 4b, 4c and 7d. The plan will include the following flatfish species (quota and non-quota):
* sole
* dab
* plaice
* founder
* halibut
* lemon sole
* witch
* turbot
* brill

Updates
Initial engagement meetings through existing forums to gain initial views/concerns during August and September 2022 for the stocks within the FMP scope. For example, the North Sea Advisory Group, who were engaged with for negotiations.

Next Steps

  • Defra restarting work on Southern North Sea Flatfish in early 2023 once EU negotiations: Complete. Timeline currently for this FMP takes us to publication in early 2024. Going forward throughout this drafting period Defra will be using the Finfish Industry Advisory Group (FIAG) to test ideas and review sections of the FMP. There will also be meetings with stakeholders who do not hold membership with FIAG.

Engagement Opportunities

Engagement opportunities for 2023 are currently under review and the list of engagement remains fluid as Defra develop and learn from their own engagement so far and other FMPs.

For more information on the Southern North Sea and Eastern Channel Mixed Flatfish FMP, please contact Defra at flatfishfmp@defra.gov.uk

Southern North Sea and Eastern Channel Mixed Flatfish FMP Factsheet January 2023 Update

FMP's in development

Defra is currently preparing the next 5 FMPs for English waters, which will be published by the end of 2024. Defra's delivery partners are leading on the preparation of these plans. Defra will use the lessons learnt from the first set of FMPs to inform their development.

Cockle FMP

The cockle FMP will cover English waters only. The draft FMP is being prepared by the Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (AIFCA), working with the relevant Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) and a wide range of other organisations and stakeholders with an interest in the fishery. 

To give your views or register your interest in future engagement events for the cockles FMP, email CockleFMP@association-ifca.org.uk.

Queen Scallop FMP

The queen scallop FMP will cover English waters only. Defra’s non-quota species fisheries policy team are leading the work on this FMP.   

To give your views or register your interest in future engagement events for the queen scallop FMP, email shellfish@defra.gov.uk.  

North Sea and Channel sprat FMP

The North Sea and Channel sprat FMP is a joint plan between Defra and the Scottish Government. It will cover UK waters of the North Sea and Channel. The draft FMP is being prepared by Cefas.   

To give your views or register your interest in future engagement events for the sprat FMP, email fmp@cefas.gov.uk.

South North Sea demersal non-quota species (NQS)

The Southern North Sea demersal NQS FMP covers the English waters within ICES divisions 4b and 4c. It will include important demersal (bottom living) species without agreed catch limits (quota), such as:  

*cuttlefish
*grey gurnards
*red gurnards
*tub gurnards
*John dory
*lesser spotted dogfish
*octopus
*squid
*surmullet

The draft FMP is being prepared by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).   

To give your views or register your interest in future engagement events for the Southern North Sea demersal NQS FMP, email fmp@marinemanagement.org.uk.

Southern North Sea and Channel skates and rays

The Southern North Sea and Channel skates and rays FMP covers the English waters within ICES divisions 4b, 4c, 7d and 7e. The plan will include the following species:    

*blonde ray
*cuckoo ray
*skates and rays
*small-eyed ray
*spotted ray
*starry ray
*thornback ray
*undulate ray

The draft FMP is being prepared by the MMO.

To give your views or register your interest in future engagement events for the Southern North Sea and Channel skates and ray FMP, email: fmp@marinemanagement.org.uk.

Further Infomation

If you want to find out more, contact Defra’s FMP team by emailing FMPs@defra.gov.uk, or contact one of the delivery partners listed to find out more about a specific FMP.

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