Will the Minister outline how marine planning and fisheries policies will safeguard important puffin prey species, like sandeel?
The State of Natural Resources Report (SoNaRR) for Wales 2020 indicates a 163% increase in puffin population in Wales between 2000 and 2020. This record puffin population increase is an important relative indication of both prey availability and the ongoing success of the Welsh Government’s approach to marine and fisheries management.
Developments applying for regulatory consents must demonstrate how their project is in accordance with the Welsh National Marine Plan. Marine Plan policy requires developers to take the sensitives of marine ecosystems into account and includes specific policy protection for important fish breeding and nursery grounds and migratory routes. The Marine Plan also encourages developers, where possible, to take opportunities to contribute to the restoration and enhancement of marine habitats and species. While fishing activities are, by and large, not regulated through the marine licensing system, the Marine Plan guides policy and fisheries management decisions.
The UK Joint Fisheries Statement, which was published on 23 November 2022, sets out how the UK fisheries policy authorities will work together to support a vibrant, profitable, and sustainable fishing and aquaculture sector supported by a healthy marine environment that is resilient to climate change. As part of the JFS, fisheries management plans will be developed to ensure the sustainability of key stocks.