Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food
As I set out in my Vision for Marine and Fisheries in Wales in November last year. I indicated that, for Marine and Fisheries, there is an unprecedented level of change that is being driven by legislation, both domestic and European. Much of this change will be focused over the next three years and some is already underway. The need to develop a new Marine Planning regime, implement the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the New Common Fisheries Policy; and the review of fisheries legislation and how we manage our Marine Protected Areas is all taking place at the same time. I have asked officials to run this work together in a co-ordinated way to ensure that these items work together but principally because I want to make sure that users of the sea receive information in ways that are meaningful to them. I am committed to ensuring that those that have an interest in Welsh seas are able to receive information and participate in this important work.
Learning from experiences over recent years I intend to build on the good work of the Wales Coastal and Maritime Partnership and the momentum of the MCZ Stakeholder Focus Group to establish a new group to provide advice and support to me. This group will provide a standing forum to support and advise the Welsh Government on the delivery of all its marine work. I want this group – which will be known as the Wales Marine Strategic Advisory Group - to work proactively to support our work and will encourage it to establish Task and Finish Groups to do so. It will also work with the existing fisheries stakeholder Groups: Inshore Fisheries Groups (IFGs) and Wales Marine Fisheries Advisory Group (WMFAG).
My officials are establishing the membership of this group that will be chaired by Peter Davies Wales’ Commissioner for Sustainable Futures.
Beyond this group we will engage widely with the diverse marine and fisheries community. An early step in developing our understanding of how people want to engage with us has been to consult on the SPP. At the same time, we have published a Wales directory coastal partnerships directory that will help all of us understand the range of groups and fora that have an interest in Welsh seas.
The Wales Coastal Maritime Partnership (WCMP), which has been on hold since 2013, has being formally wound up. I would like to thank all who have input to the WCMP over the years and for the important contributions it has made in supporting the Welsh Government and moving forwards marine policy in Wales.
I intend to review the effectiveness of these new arrangements in three years time.