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Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Section 1: The Marine Management Organisation

36.This section establishes a body to be known as the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

37.The MMO is to exercise those functions that are conferred on it by the Act and through other legislation.

38.There are a number of ways in which the Act provides for the MMO to take on functions.

39.Firstly, a number of existing functions are directly transferred to the MMO under Chapter 2 of this Part. Sections 4 to 11 transfer existing sea fisheries and nature conservation functions currently performed by the Secretary of State (some of them through the Marine and Fisheries Agency) or by Natural England directly to the MMO. Sections 12 and 13 also transfer functions to the MMO relating to electricity generating and renewable energy installations.

40.Secondly, the Act confers new functions on the MMO. Under Part 5 (marine conservation zones) the MMO is given the power, following consultation, to make byelaws to further the conservation objectives of any designated marine conservation zone in England (section 129). Such byelaws may, amongst other things, prohibit anything that will interfere with the sea bed. Under section 131, the MMO is given power to make emergency byelaws if it thinks there is an urgent need to protect a marine conservation zone in England. The MMO may also make interim byelaws (section 132) in relation to potential new marine conservation zones.

41.Under Part 6 of the Act, which relates to inshore fisheries and conservation authorities (IFCAs), the MMO is to be consulted in relation to the making of orders establishing inshore fisheries and conservation districts in England (section 149). Each such district is to have an inshore fisheries and conservation authority, the membership of which is to include some people appointed by the MMO (section 151).

42.Under Part 7 of the Act, an amendment to the Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967 gives the MMO the powers to grant an exemption from the ban under section 17 of that Act on taking or selling crabs and lobsters, if they are taken for scientific purposes (section 212).

43.Thirdly, other Parts of the Act enable Ministers to delegate their marine functions under the Act to the MMO. Part 3 (marine planning) provides powers for “marine plan authorities” (listed in section 50) to delegate certain marine plan functions to public bodies by means of a direction (section 55). Part 4 (marine licensing) enables the Secretary of State to make an order which delegates certain of his marine licensing functions to any person specified in the order (section 98), which may include the MMO.

44.Fourthly, other functions will be conferred on the MMO through agreements with the Secretary of State. Chapter 3 of Part 1 makes provision for the Secretary of State to enter into agreements with the MMO for the MMO to perform any of the Secretary of State’s marine functions.

45.In addition, where functions that the MMO is to undertake are currently set out in secondary legislation, the Government will seek to amend that legislation to confer those functions on the MMO. Examples of secondary legislation that would be amended are the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1994, the Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) Regulations 2007 and the Grants for Fishing and Aquaculture Industries Regulations 2007.

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