About us

What we do

We licence, regulate and plan marine activities in the seas around England and Wales so that they're carried out in a sustainable way.

This helps the government achieve its vision for clean, healthy, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.

Who we are

We were created by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 and are now a team of almost 300 people. We combine our Newcastle upon Tyne and London operations with a local presence around the English coastline in North Shields, Scarborough, Grimsby, Lowestoft, Harwich, Hastings, Shoreham, Poole, Portsmouth, Brixham, Plymouth, Penzance, Whitehaven and Preston.

Our responsibilities

We’re 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 we don’t directly regulate
  • enforcing wildlife legislation and issuing wildlife licences

Our priorities

From 2014 to 2017, our priorities are to:

  • publish the plans and guidance for England’s East Inshore and East Offshore Marine Plan Areas and continue to work on the south marine plans
  • improve the application process for marine licences and harbour applications
  • work with other regulators and government bodies to coordinate marine and coastal development, using marine plans as a basis for decisions
  • support the fishing industry by helping businesses access grants from the European Fisheries Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund
  • work with the fishing industry and other government bodies to achieve the changes set out in the new Common Fisheries Policy
  • make sure the fisheries industry knows about changes in EU and domestic laws that affect them
  • ensure that our stewardship of MPAs contributes to a well-managed network, bringing together conservation authorities and other regulatory bodies

Corporate information

Jobs and contracts

Find out About our services.

Corporate reports