Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum 53

Supplementary evidence from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

1.  Please provide a copy of the chart of monitoring arrangements collated by Defra and promised by the   Minister (Q480 refers).

  A key requirement of the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy (UKMMAS) is to understand what, where, why, and when monitoring is taking place, and who is carrying it out. The attached table (Attachment 1) (not printed) contains this marine monitoring metadata (data on data) which will assist in ensuring monitoring programmes are co-ordinated, efficient and fit for purpose. This information will be updated on an annual basis by the key agencies involved in monitoring the marine environment and will be made available through a new database called the UKDMOS (UK Directory of Marine Observing Systems).

2.  Please provide a copy of the league table referred to by the Minister in relation to the comparison of funding   in the UK and elsewhere in Europe (Q502 refers).

  The table below gives the spend on "marine fisheries science" by all partners in the MariFish project. It is not easy to compare between partners since some countries include fisheries stock monitoring and assessment whilst other do not. Defra's annual spend is €5 million R&D and €14 million non-R&D.

Total annual value of
marine fisheries science

€13 million
€2.3 million
€6-10 million
€21.5 million
€2.5-3 million
€3 million
UK (Defra)
€19 million
€25 million
€13 million
€8.5 million
€18 million
€24 million

3.  Please provide a copy of the chart of Defra spending areas and shortfalls within marine science (Q505   refers).

  The attached figure (Attachment 2) (Annex 1) and supporting table (Attachment 3) (Annex 2) provides:

    —    an estimated current annual UK spend on monitoring and surveillance in the marine environment (c>£37 million); and

    —    an estimated future annual UK spend on monitoring and surveillance to meet new and emerging commitments in the marine environment (c>£60 million).

  These figures are conservative estimates based on returns made to the UKMMAS Secretariat by those key agencies responsible for marine monitoring in the UK.

4.  How will the Defra fisheries laboratories work with the NERC institutes under Oceans 2025? Is there a need   to review how the two sides could work together better to the good of UK marine science?

  Defra welcomes the development of Oceans 2025. Following from the Net Benefits report, and the government response (1,2), Defra jointly with other government departments commissioned a review of the Science for Sustainable Marine Bioresources and its delivery across the UK science community. Within Oceans 2025, one of the 10 Themes is Sustainable Marine Resources. The government marine laboratories were engaged in scoping meetings for the contents of this Theme along with detailed discussions of the final plans. In parallel, Defra, NERC and the devolved administrations have contributed to a Sustainable Marine Bioresources Programme with cash or work in kind. The call for projects had to incorporate direct linkages with the government marine laboratories. The proposals are being evaluated at this time. In addition there are many individual contacts between NERC and government scientists in their day to day activities.

  In the oral evidence (Q230-Q234) the NERC Directors commented on the lack of vessel access for shelf seas science. Subsequently Cefas wrote to NERC offering to discuss whether Cefas vessel time, on its 72 metre Cefas Endeavour, could be made available to NERC.

REFERENCES  1  Net Benefits. A sustainable and profitable future for UK fishing. Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, March 2004.

2  Securing the Benefits. The joint UK response to the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit Net Benefits report on the future of the fishing industry in the UK, Defra, 2005

5.  What is Defra's policy on the release of data from publicly-funded operations (Q 531 refers)?

  Defra strives to make all data generated from publicly funded operations freely available as soon as is reasonably possible. Current research contracts outline that contractors must endeavour to make information and results from any project generally available, provided it is accompanied by an acknowledgment of the financial support received. However, this does not apply for any information covered by the Data Protection Act 1998 or considered "commercial in confidence". Contractors are permitted to "add value" to this data in order to generate "value added products" which may then be subject to licence restrictions and appropriate charges.

  Defra Marine Environment Division is in the process of drafting a Marine Data Policy and appropriate new wording for insertion into research contracts to facilitate the collation, release, re-use, and storage of marine data. This is in-line with the work currently underway within the Marine Data and Information Partnership (MDIP— to create a framework for marine data stewardship.

6.  Please provide a note on the work undertaken to date on designating MPAs (Q537 refers)?

Natura 2000 sites

  The Habitats Directive requires the creation of a network of protected areas known as Natura 2000. This network consists of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) to protect habitats and species listed under the Habitats Directive and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) to protect wild birds as set out under the Wild Birds Directive.

  A range of legislative measures are in place to provide protection to important marine species and habitats. We currently have 182 marine protected areas with marine features in UK inshore waters (up to 12 nautical miles), which include:

    —    81 Special Protections Areas with marine habitats for birds;

    —    98 Special Areas of Conservation with marine habitats or species; and

    —    three statutory marine nature reserves.

  In total the area coverage of these sites exceeds 1.8 million hectares, or 2.2% of UK waters.

  Work is underway to identify further sites in UK waters (English territorial waters and UK offshore waters). To date 20 areas for marine habitats have been surveyed and there are plans for additional survey of a further 16 areas. Approximately seven areas for marine birds have also been surveyed, with plans for 30 more. A selection of these areas surveyed are likely to be recommended as marine protected areas under the Habitats and Birds Directives, but the number and area of these sites is not yet known.

  The Joint Nature Conservation Committee is responsible for the identification of SACs and SPAs beyond 12 nautical miles from the coast. It is due to consult on the first tranche of draft offshore marine SACs later this year.

  Under OSPAR there is an international commitment to establish an ecologically coherent network of well managed Marine Protected Areas by 2010. By then we will have largely completed our network of European Natura 2000 sites by building on those already present in inshore waters. We will then add to this network by including Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) proposed as part of the Marine Bill. We are continuing to discuss the timetable for completing this network of Marine Protected Areas with conservation agencies, Natural England hope to have identified the network in English territorial waters by 2012.

  There is as much data available in relation to the range, extent, and distribution of broadscale marine features termed marine landscapes ( There is a balance to strike between using coarse level data to inform the selection of MCZs and commissioning further scientific research to more narrowly identify the features or species in need of conservation. Nature conservation bodies will consider how best to address this balance when selecting MCZs in order to make sure that we achieve our network within timescale.

Marine Conservation Zones

  MCZs will allow us to protect a wide range of species and habitats that are important in UK waters. Among other purposes they will enable the designation of rare and threatened species and habitats as well as areas that best represent the range of biodiversity in our waters. Nature conservation agencies have funding to carry out further scientific surveys to identify areas that could be suitable for selection as MCZs. Whilst we do not have a comprehensive understanding of all marine ecosystems, we are aware of key species, habitats and ecosystems that will require protection under the MCZ mechanism.

  MCZs will be designated using a flexible approach that enables protection of ecosystems and biodiversity without causing inappropriate economic or social impacts wherever possible. We propose to take account of both the current situation in the area and the future situation anticipated as the result of factors such as planned economic development or climate change.

7.  What monitoring has taken place to check whether the recommendations of the Foresight Marine   Panel have been implemented (Q538 refers)?

  Defra has recently reviewed its priorities for Marine Fisheries Research, and as a result has restructured their R&D programme. The Defra R&D programme is broken into the following three topics: Impacts of Fishing on the Marine Ecosystem, Effects of the Environment on Fish Stocks, and Fisheries Management. The New programme incorporates all of the recommendations of the Foresight Marine Panel on Marine Fisheries. In addition, direct fisheries management measures are making an impact on the monitoring and control of fishing activity, and Bio-economic modelling has been enhanced through Defra and SFIA modelling.

8.  How is Defra working with the European Commission on the coverage of marine science within the maritime   strategy green paper and the Seventh Framework Programme? Why is the Department of Transport the lead   Government department on the green paper?

  Marine science is a cross cutting issue in the Seventh Framework Programme with marine resources covered in Theme 2 (Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and Biotechnology) of the Co-operation Specific Programme and pressures on the marine system and the management of marine environments covered in Theme 6 (Environment, including climate change). The UK works with the Commission through the programme committees for these themes and is represented by Defra, FSA and BBSRC in Theme 2 and Defra and NERC in Theme 6.

  The aim of the EU Maritime Green Paper is to launch a debate about a future Maritime Policy for the EU that treats the oceans and seas in a holistic way. It will try to determine how links between maritime transport, industry, coastal regions, offshore energy, fisheries and the marine environment are to be brought together. The Green Paper is a consultation, and the substantive work with the Commission by Defra on maritime science is through the Seventh Framework programme. The Department of Transport's lead reflects their lead role on maritime transport, the key component of the Green Paper.

September 2007

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