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MMO Gets a Home

Feb 12,2009 SACN

Tyneside will be the home of the headquarters of a new body to regulate and manage the sea around England.

Marine and Fisheries Minister Huw Irranca-Davies said Tyneside is ideally placed to host the groundbreaking new Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The MMO, part of the government’s pioneering Marine and Coastal Access Bill, will be a centre of expertise that will contribute to sustainable development, streamline regulation and improve enforcement.

Tyneside’s bid won strong backing across the North East, and Ministers decided the area had the right mix of environmental, business and academic marine interests.   

The MMO’s responsibilities will include:

· a new marine planning system

· a new integrated marine licensing system

· enforcement of sea fisheries, nature conservation and licensing using powers under the Marine and Coastal Access Bill

Huw Irranca-Davies said:

"Tyneside was chosen for several reasons, not least because of its broad range and good balance of marine interests. It has a working port, a busy local fishing industry, and businesses including offshore renewable energy development, all of which fit well with the MMO’s role.

"The new organisation’s location is integral to its ability to be highly respected by everyone who uses and values our seas, and in Tyneside the MMO will be close to people and organisations who care passionately about marine protection and how we use our seas.

"All of the shortlisted locations made professional, well-presented bids and I thank everyone involved for their efforts and enthusiasm."

The MMO will be a Non-Departmental Public Body, replacing the Marine and Fisheries Agency and will take on the new marine planning function and some responsibilities from other government departments and agencies, bringing together marine functions in one independent body for the first time.

The MMO applies to the waters around England and also UK offshore waters for non-devolved and reserved matters. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have separate arrangements.

For more information go to http://defraweb/marine/legislation/index.htm and http://www.mfa.gov.uk/

Notes to Editors

1. The Marine and Fisheries Agency currently has around 200 staff in its HQ and 18 coastal offices. The new HQ will create more than 40 new posts. It is not yet known how many existing MFA HQ staff will relocate to the new location. Arrangements are being put in place to ensure effective services continue to be provided to MFA customers in the transition to the new MMO and beyond.

2. A Chair and Board for the new organisation will be recruited in 2009.

3. The MMO is expected to be vested on 1 April 2010 depending on Parliamentary timescales for the Marine and Coastal Access Bill.


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