Fishing vessels alongside at Eyemouth (David Donnan, SNH) © 2002

We provide advice on fishery policy and management with a view to promote the sustainable use of marine resources.The seas around our shores should provide a rich source of food, a livelihood for fishing communities and a rich and diverse wildlife. However, without proper management human activities could place each at risk.


A clean and healthy sea is critical for fisheries. Equally the fishing industry has responsibility to help ensure that marine ecosystems are kept in a favourable state.


The main source of legislation used to manage human activities in the seas of Europe is the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). During 2009 the European Commission adopted a Green Paper on a reform of the CFP that after wide consultation will result in a new CFP in 2012.


With the other UK statutory nature conservation agencies, we provided the Commission with a response to the Green Paper. In addition, we took part in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) consultation on CFP review and gave evidence in the House of Lords to the European Union Committee inquiry into the review of the CFP. We also commissioned an Institute for European Environment Policy (IEEP) study to evaluate progress made since the last CFP review in 2002.