Consultation on Fisheries Management Plans

Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs) are a requirement of the Fisheries Act 2020, the UK Joint Fisheries Statement and a commitment in the England Environmental Improvement Plan 2023. The Fisheries Act 2020 provides the framework to manage our fisheries as an independent coastal state outside of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. The act requires the UK fisheries policy authorities (Defra, and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) to publish fisheries management plans (FMPs) to help deliver our ambition for sustainable fisheries.

FMPs assess the status of stocks and must set out policies to restore stocks to, or maintain them at, sustainable levels. Each FMP will specify the stocks, type of fishing and the geographic area covered, as well as the authority or authorities responsible and indicators to be used for monitoring the effectiveness of the plan.  Once published, FMPs will inform a wide range of relevant fisheries management actions. There will not be a ‘one size fits all’ approach to our FMPs – they will be designed according to the specific needs of their stocks, fisheries and location. Therefore, FMPs will vary in their content and format because our fisheries range from stocks whose management is well understood, to complex mixed fisheries with many stocks in whole sea areas.

Six front runner FMPs has been prepared for the purpose of meeting the requirements set out in the Act. These frontrunners are piloting different ways of preparing plans in partnership with industry groups and other stakeholders. Lessons learnt from these projects will shape our future FMP work. Each frontrunner FMP has a delivery partner who is working with Defra and stakeholders to draft plans that represent a wide range of views. Once published, FMPs will be implemented, monitored, reviewed and updated to ensure they remain fit for purpose.

For D&S IFCA five out of the six front runner FMPs are relevant to its District and stakeholders.


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


Whelk FMP The whelk FMP will cover stocks in English waters only. Seafish worked closely with the Whelk Management Group, an industry-led advisory group, to draft the FMP. A factsheet on the Whelk FMP is available here.


King Scallop FMP The King Scallop FMP is a joint plan between Defra and the Welsh Government and will cover stocks in English and Welsh waters. The Scallop Industry Consultation Group (SICG) working group collaborated with Seafish to draft the FMP. The SICG working group is a collaborative body comprised of UK industry representatives from the SICG and officials from all fisheries policy authorities.  A factsheet on the King Scallop FMP is available here.


Bass FMP  The Bass FMP is a joint plan between Defra and the Welsh Government and will cover stocks in English and Welsh waters. Policy Lab worked closely with stakeholders in 2022 to help develop recommendations for the bass FMP. Defra and the Welsh Government are taking these recommendations forward.  Policy Lab is part of the Department for Education and specialises in co-designing policy with stakeholders.  A factsheet on the Bass FMP is available here.


Channel demersal non-quota stocks (NQS)  The Channel Demersal 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
  • red mullet
  • lesser spotted dogfish

The Channel demersal NQS FMP was developed by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).  A factsheet on the Channel demersal NQS FMP is available here.

Defra’s consultation on these FMPs will end at 11.59pm on 1st October 2023.