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Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Section 16: Eligible bodies

87.Bodies listed in this section are those with which the MMO may enter into an agreement. The MMO will need the ability to delegate certain activities to eligible bodies where, for example, such bodies would be better placed (because of their resources, expertise or other such reason) to carry out the MMO’s function in a particular area. Examples of functions the MMO might want these bodies to carry out are as follows.

  • The MMO is taking over the licensing function under the Conservation of Seals Act 1970, but there are a few applications each year relating to seals in freshwaters. Those applications will be dealt with by Natural England and the function will therefore need to be delegated to that body by the MMO by agreement under section 15.

  • The Environment Agency will be responsible for freshwater fisheries and migratory species out to 6 nautical miles, as it is now. IFCAs will be responsible for marine species management out to 6 nautical miles – as Sea Fisheries Committees (SFCs) are now – with the addition of estuaries as far as the tide flows. The MMO will be responsible for enforcement of marine nature conservation and national and EU fisheries provisions out to 200 nautical miles and for British vessels on the high seas. The MMO will take action in the inshore area where national measures are required and in cases where nature conservation is at risk from non-fisheries threats, and it may be that the MMO will wish to delegate certain functions in this area to IFCAs or the Environment Agency.

88.The Secretary of State may add a body, or a description of a body, to the list by Order, and may also remove bodies or descriptions of bodies from the list. The list is likely to change over time to take account of bodies being created, merged or disbanded, or to reflect a change of name. An example of such a change is that local fisheries committees (commonly known as Sea Fisheries Committees (SFCs)) will need to be removed from the list of bodies once IFCAs have been established; however, SFCs still need to be included in the list to cover the period between Royal Assent and the establishment of IFCAs. As the MMO evolves in future and takes on additional functions, further bodies may need to be added to the list.

89.The Secretary of State must be satisfied that a body which is to be added to the list has at least one purpose or function relating to or connected with a marine function. The power to add bodies to the list is not limited to public bodies because private bodies may be better placed to provide some functions or provide better value for money.

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