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Launch of Marine Body a “defining moment” for our seas


The launch today of the Marine Management Organisation was cited as a turning point for the sustainable use of our seas, and hailed as an example of streamlined government.

The new delivery body has been operating since April and was formally launched today in the North East, bringing together responsibilities that include implementing a new marine planning and licensing system to balance environmental, social and economic needs.

Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries, Richard Benyon, emphasised the importance of the MMOs role both locally and nationally. He said: “The Marine Management Organisation will be an exemplar across government of how such a public body should operate. It is a streamlined, customer focused organisation and it will work with stakeholders to find solutions to a range of marine issues.

“I want not only other government departments but also other countries to visit the MMO and see how things are done. I am confident the MMO will succeed.”

The Minister joined broadcaster and presenter of the BBC series Coast and author, Nicholas Crane, and Chair of the MMO Chris Parry CBE in speaking at the event, held at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.

Fishermen, developers, conservationists and other key representatives with interests in the marine area also attended the launch to support the new organisation.

Nicholas Crane hailed the creation of the MMO as a turning point for the sustainable use of our seas. He said:

“This marks a major step forward for our marine resources. One of the things Ive realised in recent years is that we havent been treasuring the sea, the seabed, the seashore, in the same way that weve learned to protect the land.  

“The creation of the MMO changes all that. Treating the sea as a habitat equal to land habitats will be seen in coming years as a defining moment.”

MMO Chair, Chris Parry, added:

“I am immensely proud to see so many people here today supporting our work. We will be a collaborative rather than competitive organisation, encouraging clear communication across the marine area to achieve our aim of becoming the nationally and internationally recognised leader in integrated marine management and sustainable development.”

The MMO was established under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 to deliver the UK Governments vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas. It will balance the development of marine industries, such as wind farms and oil and gas exploration, with the need to conserve and protect marine species and habitats.

The UK is one of the first countries in the world to successfully introduce a single piece of legislation to protect the marine environment.

 The MMO has 18 offices around the coast of England and will also be holding a regional launch in five districts around England on the same day.

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