The Marine Protected Areas (Bottom Trawling) Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill by Lord Randall of Uxbridge (Conservative). The bill received first reading on 16 June 2022 having been introduced in the House of Lords on his behalf by Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb (Green Party). A date for the bill’s second reading has yet to be confirmed.

The bill would require the secretary of state to make provision in regulations “to regulate and limit” the use of bottom trawling in marine protected areas, including a general prohibition on bottom trawling with the possibility for exceptions to support small-scale fisheries in areas where the practice would not cause serious environmental damage. Bottom trawling is a fishing practice that involves the use of weighted nets dragged across the seabed. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are designated by the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, with the aim of achieving long-term conservation. Each MPA protects specific features, for example a specific species or different habitat types. Concern has been expressed that bottom trawling is damaging to marine ecosystems. However, the government has argued that restricting the practice based on individual MPAs is a better approach than a blanket ban.

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