Speaking in the National Assembly, the Minister launched Wales’ first Marine and Fisheries Strategic Action Plan and set out how the Welsh Government would use its powers to manage Wales’s seas sustainably and use them as a driver for economic growth in order to ensure the best long term outcome for the people of Wales.
Alun Davies said:
“Marine and fisheries continue to be a priority for me. This plan is the beginning of the next phase of effective management of Welsh seas and aims to ensure that Wales has a sustainable marine and fisheries industry that we can all benefit from and be proud of.
“In order to reach this goal we know we need a real focus on ensuring that our seas are a healthy marine eco-system. It is this focus on healthy and diverse seas that will ensure that Welsh waters deliver the best long term economic outcome for coastal communities and the people of Wales more widely and will help us maintain and develop a vibrant and successful fishing industry.”
As part of his statement the Minister reiterated his commitment to developing a Welsh National Marine Planning Process by 2015 to provide a basis for the sustainable use of Wales’ marine resource. The Welsh Government will start engaging with its partners on this work over the next month.
The Minister said:
“I want to establish a marine planning system that Wales can be proud of and which says to the world that Wales is open for business in the sustainable use of our seas, whether that be for fishing, transport, tourism or renewable energy purposes.”
In its Marine and Fisheries Strategic Action Plan the Welsh Government says it will: Create the right environment for new and existing businesses to prosper, in order to grow the coastal economy.
Simplify current administrative and licensing proceduresWork with local marine and fisheries businesses to make sure they can fully utilise the European funds available, notably the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
Develop marine policy so that it supports ‘blue growth’.
Aim to double Wales’ annual finfish aquaculture output from 1000 tonnes to 2000 tonnes by 2020Aim to double shellfish production from 8000 to 16000 tonnes by 2020.
Continue to develop three Inshore Fisheries Groups across Wales to improve the management of fisheries and develop partnership working between Welsh Government and Fisheries.
Establish industry groups to manage fishing quota levels in the most effective Way.
The Marine and Fisheries Strategic Action Plan sets out specific initiatives that the Welsh Governments will undertake to support marine and fisheries and also includes a timeline for activity. The full document will be available on the Welsh Government website.