Marine Management Organisation
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has been set up as a new executive non-departmental public body (NDPB) established and given powers under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.
Who are the MMO?
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has been established to make a significant contribution to sustainable development in the marine area and to promote the UK government’s vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.
The MMO has taken over from the old Marine and Fisheries Agency (MFA) and acquired several important new roles, principally marine-related powers and specific functions previously associated with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Department for Transport (DfT).
The establishment of the MMO as a cross-government delivery partner therefore marks a fundamental shift in planning, regulating and licensing activity in the marine area with the emphasis on sustainable development.
The MMO has a wide range of responsibilities, including:
- implementing a new marine planning system designed to integrate the social requirements, economic potential and environmental imperatives of our seas
- implementing a new marine licensing regime that is easier for everyone to use with clearer, simpler and quicker licensing decisions
- managing UK fishing fleet capacity and UK fisheries quotas
- working with Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) to create and manage a network of marine protected areas (marine conservation zones and European marine sites) designed to preserve vulnerable habitats and species in UK marine waters
- responding to marine emergencies alongside other agencies
- developing an internationally recognised centre of excellence for marine information that supports the MMO’s decision-making process.
How does the MMO interact with the recreational boating sector?
There are three main ways in which recreational boaters might interact with the MMO:
Marine planning is one of the major new functions of the MMO. The new marine planning system is designed to bring together the environmental, social and economic needs of our seas.
The Marine Policy Statement, which was adopted by all UK Governments in March 2011, provides the strategic framework for all marine plans and guides decision-making in the marine area.
Marine plans that are developed for England will guide developers about where they are likely to be able to carry out activities and may indicate the kind of conditions or restrictions that may be placed on what they do and how they do it.
Although recreational boating developments are likely to be relatively small scale, all operators and regulators in an area will be expected to work to the same plan, providing transparency and consistency in decision-making. It is therefore important that recreational boaters are aware of and understand the implications of new marine plans are developed around England.
More information on how the MMO is taking forward marine planning can be found here.
The MMO control the environmental, navigational, human health and other impacts of construction, deposits and removals in the marine area. They consent activities under the new marine licensing system under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, which started on 6 April 2011.
The new licensing regime includes smaller coastal developments including improvements to club houses and training centres that could impact on the marine environment e.g. jetties, moorings and dredging . Failure to obtain consent before undertaking these sorts of works results in a breach of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 and could lead to fines.
More information on the marine licensing system can be found here.
Marine Nature Conservation
It is intended to establish a network of marine protected areas by 2012. These will include European marine sites (EMSs) and new national marine conservation zones (MCZs).The MCZs are a new type of designation under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. This ecologically coherent network will protect the diverse habitats and species in UK waters. The waters around Lundy Island became the first MCZ on 12 January 2010.
MCZs will be designated by the Secretary of State and four regional projects have been established, involving stakeholders, which will recommend proposed sites in 2011. This process will take account of both scientific advice and socio-economic factors. All public authorities, including the MMO, have a duty to carry out their functions in a way which furthers (or at least does not hinder) the conservation objectives set for MCZs.
Once the boundaries of MCZs have been determined, the MMO will be closely involved in identifying the ways in which any management measures could be enforced. This could range from voluntary measures up to and including mandatory byelaws. The MMO have powers under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 to make byelaws for the protection of features of MCZs once they are established (and potential MCZs) and EMSs and are duty bound to enforce them once they are in place.
Work is still ongoing to determine the boundaries of new MCZs and management measures are yet to be formalised. If it is decided that a byelaw is the most effective way to manage a particular activity within an MCZ (or an EMS) then the MMO will consult stakeholders who could be affected by a proposed byelaw.
Further information on the MMO’s role in relation to marine conservation can be found here and further detail on the MCZ process in England can be found here
Where can I find out more?
Much information is available on the MMO’s website about who they are and what they do. The site also contains more detail on each aspect of the MMO’s work and guidance documents that can be downloaded.
Article Published: April 28, 2011 10:27
Article Updated: May 21, 2013 9:40