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Fish and ships: Planning future of our seas

Those who make their living offshore from Boston will be interested in the just-published first-ever plans for the future of our seas.

The marine plans - which provide guidance for sustainable development in English waters - cover the coast and seas from Flamborough Head to Felixstowe. They have been developed by the Marine Management Organisation.

An interactive tool is available online explaining how marine plans affect this area -

Marine plans will inform and guide decisions on development in marine and coastal areas, while conserving and enhancing the environment and recognising leisure uses too.

This should reduce costs and increase certainty for developers, boosting economic and employment benefits for coastal communities and beyond.

The first two plans cover the East inshore and offshore areas, with a total of 11 plans covering all English waters anticipated by 2021.Our seas have become increasingly busy, with industries such as oil and gas, wind farms, shipping, aggregates and fishing competing for space with each other and with nature.

Environment Minister George Eustice said: "UK seas are home to one of the richest marine environments in the world and are currently worth more than £49 billion a year to our economy.

"We are making sure that environmental considerations are embedded in every decision about proposed developments along the coast from Flamborough Head to Felixstowe and in our seas out to the maritime borders with the Netherlands, Belgium and France.

"By 2021, marine plans will cover the entire English marine area, supporting an estimated £50 million of economic benefit each year and helping to promote sustainable development of the marine area."

MMO Chief Executive James Cross added: "These plans are the culmination of years of work by Government, industry, environmental organisations and many others.

"We are delighted to be at the forefront of sustainable marine development, cutting red tape for developers while taking full account of social and environmental impacts."

The UK has one of the richest marine environments in the world, with more than 8,000 species recorded in our seas.

Plans will take full account of marine protected areas, recognising the wealth of species and habitats in our seas.

View a short animation film on marine planning at