Water Framework Directive
28. The MSD is designed to integrate with the Water
Framework Directive (already transposed into UK legislation) and
thus provide joined-up management from river catchments to the
edge of Economic Exclusive Zones. The Water Framework Directive
covers coastal waters up to one nautical mile to sea, and estuarial
implementation of the two directives in UK marine waters will
require a clear designation of duties. As Mr Waldock from Cefas
pointed out "the Marine Management Organisation will not
be able to take all the measures it needs itself to meet good
environmental status, for example, under the Marine Strategy Directive
and, therefore, there has to be a dialogue with other departments
and agencies, and, in terms of land-based discharges, the Environment
29. The Environment Agency (EA) is the competent
authority for the Water Framework Directive in England and Wales,
proposing environmental objectives and the measures needed to
deliver them. Damage
to the sea bed caused by fishing activity, particularly within
estuaries, may compromise the achievement of environmental objectives
set under the Directive, as would poor status of fish stocks.
Under the Bill, these matters would fall to be regulated by new
Inshore Fishing and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs).
30. We asked Jonathan Shaw MP, Minister of State
at Defra, to clarify how the Bill would affect implementation
of the Water Framework Directive in marine waters. He responded
"we are very confident that the new bodies will take their
responsibilities under the Water Framework Directive seriously
and implement them and work in partnership with EA who will sit
on their board".
On the other hand the Environment Agency argued that the IFCAs
should have a duty to exercise their functions compliantly with
the Water Framework Directive requirements, to ensure they worked
closely with the Agency to attain the relevant objectives.
The Moran Committee agreed.
31. In respect of the administration of the Water
Framework Directive the Minister also told us that "if the
Committee feels [
] that there should be powers and duties
in particular areas, we will obviously look closely at those".
We are happy to take up the Minister's invitation. We think
that there is potential for overlap and lack of clarity in respect
of the duties under the Water Framework and Marine Strategy Directives.
These should be clearly allocated between the Marine Management
Organisation, Environment Agency and Inshore Fisheries and Conservation
Authorities (IFCAs) to ensure implementation of the relevant UK
obligations under these Directives and the agreed guidance on
Integrated Coast Zone Management. Although clause 160 places a
statutory duty on IFCAs to co-operate with the Agency, we recommend
that the Bill makes it explicit that the Environment Agency remains
the competent body for the implementation of the Water Framework
Directive (WFD), and we agree with those who argued that IFCAs
should be given an additional duty to directly contribute to the
attainment of the Water Framework Directive.
The Common Fisheries Policy and
historic rights in offshore waters
32. Fisheries access is reserved for UK vessels only
between nought to six nautical miles from the shoreline. Between
six and 12 nautical miles there are access rights for certain
member states to fish.
The access reflects historic fishing activity by the relevant
Member State in the given area; in some cases it is for all commercially
exploited species, but it is mostly limited to particular groups
of species such as those that live on the seabed (demersal species).
For example, France and Belgium have rights to fish for demersal
species in the Irish Sea, and the UK has rights to fish in this
zone off the coasts of other Member States. Historic rights place
no limit on the number of vessels from a Member State which might
make use of those rights.
33. The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations
"there is a very serious jurisdiction issue
here, given that anything outside the six-mile limit that affects
fishing will have to be done through the Common Fisheries Policy
mechanisms. To a large degree the draft Marine Bill is silent
on that and the consequences of that, particularly in relation
to the aspirations of the Bill for Marine Conservation Zones.
So as it stands, the main weight of Marine Conservation Zones
will be in the inshore area".
34. The Seafish Industry Authority said that "we
are approaching the major problem area of legislating in a way
that will control activities of UK nationals but not necessarily
non-UK nationals" and that French, Belgian and Spanish fishermen
were unlikely to respect the management provisions in an area
where they have no requirement to comply.
The Local Government Association stated "fishermen have just
introduced a very large voluntary conservation zone for skate
and ray. One of the big problems we have in terms of these sort
of approaches is that sometimes people with grandfather fishing
rights come into the six-mile limit and start hoovering up fish
in very large quantities" and "there is a real issue
about fairness and making sure that the legislation is appropriately
applied to all parties and not just some parties".
North Devon's UNESCO Biosphere Reserve mentioned that "if
local regulations for MCZs and other fisheries management measures
are made these should be universally applied and the 'grandfather
rights' adopted by international boats should be extinguished".
35. The Secretary of State said "you need agreement
under the Common Fisheries Policythe agreement of other
Member States and of the Commission. I think the Marine Strategy
Directive may help in that respect in dealing with it, but it
is true that that is one bit that we do not wholly control ourselves.
There are one or two precedents where countries have gone and
been able to get agreements, so it is not as if you cannot ever
do it but we have to recognise that we are dependent on agreement
in those particular cases".
Defra officials thought that the issue of historic rights would
only be addressed as a part of a comprehensive reform of the CFP.
On the other hand Mr Richardson predicted that in general the
implementation of the Marine Strategy Directive would lead to
much more frequent resolution of such issues through the mechanisms
of the EU, and considered that provided the relevant consultation
and co-ordination had taken place with other Member States, the
administrative machinery would achieve this.
We welcome Mr Richardson's assurance, though we may not share
his confidence. We believe the Government should negotiate
the removal of historic fishing rights in UK waters with EU Member
States to ensure that enforcement of nature conservation regulations
are universally applied to UK national and other Member State
fishing vessels in the six to 12 nautical mile zone.
32 Q555 Back
Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) Back
DMB 10 and DMB 76 Back
DMB 28 Back
Article 17 of the basic Common Fisheries Policy framework regulation,
EC No. 2371/2002: detail for each Member State is in Annex I Back
DMB 59 Back
Qq624, 647 Back