Marine Management Organisation (MMO)

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is an executive non-departmental public body of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The MMO license and regulate marine activities in the seas around England and Wales so that they’re carried out in a sustainable way.

They are responsible for:

  • managing and monitoring fishing fleet sizes and quotas for catches
  • ensuring compliance with fisheries regulations, such as fishing vessel licences, time at sea and quotas for fish and seafood
  • managing funding programmes for fisheries activities
  • planning and licensing for marine construction, deposits and dredging that may have an environmental, economic or social impact
  • making marine nature conservation byelaws
  • dealing with marine pollution emergencies, including oil spills
  • helping to prevent illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing worldwide
  • producing marine plans to include all marine activities, including those they don’t directly regulate

More information about their work is on the GOV.UK website.

Marine Planning

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has responsibility for preparing marine plans for the English inshore and offshore regions according to the policies and objectives set out in the Marine Policy Statement (MPS).  Marine Plans will be given effect by their statutory status and delivered through the decisions made under them. As set out in the Marine and Coastal Access Act, all public authorities taking authorisation or enforcement decisions that affect or might affect the UK marine area must do so in accordance with marine policy documents (the MPS and relevant Marine Plans) unless relevant considerations indicate otherwise.  There are two levels in the marine planning system: the Marine Policy Statement at a UK level and marine plans at national and sub-national level.

Marine plans inform and guide marine users and regulators, managing the sustainable development of marine industries, such as wind farms, shipping, marine aggregates and fishing, alongside the need to conserve and protect marine species and habitats and recognise leisure uses too.

The South Marine Plan was adopted in 2018.  The South Inshore and South Offshore Marine Plan Areas includes a coastline that stretches from Folkestone to the River Dart. DEFRA recommend that Coastal Partnerships’ such as the Sussex Marine and Coastal forum should be used to assist with stakeholder engagement for the marine plan areas.

EU Policy

The European Commission has published a roadmap for maritime spatial planning across the Community.  The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires each Member State to achieve ‘Good Environmental Status’ in the marine area by 2021 at the latest. In the UK, the planning system will be an important vehicle for delivering obligations under the MSFD.  Marine Policy Statement (MPS) and marine plans will steer the actions of public authorities so that they deliver the Directive’s requirements.