Anna Lo MLA said: “Northern Ireland has been in desperate need for our Marine laws to be updated, we have fallen years behind other regions in these Islands. Last year when The Environment Minister announced he would be introducing a Marine Bill, there were many who believed we would be finally getting the reforms that we needed.
“However, despite promising that he would be including a Marine Management Organisation, Alex Attwood has not been able to deliver this. In recent months he has declared that he would be proposing his own MMO amendment in one final attempt to get this through. Despite him saying this, nothing has materialised. For this reason I have today tabled my own amendment to establish a Marine Management Organisation.
“We have an opportunity with this amendment to radically improve the management of our waters. There are too many different levels of laws and regulations, one single agency would ensure our marine habitat was sustainably managed and would provide clarity to those who use our waters.
“This is a genuine opportunity to deliver joined up Government. I hope that other parties including the Environment Minister’s party will support my amendment to ensure we get this set up.”
Marine Bill – Amendment to provide for MMO
Page 1, Line 1,
At beginning, insert new Part / new Clause-
THE MARINE MANAGEMENT ORGANISATION
The Marine Management Organisation
A1.-(1) There shall be a body corporate known as the Marine Management Organisation (“MMO”).
(2) The MMO shall consist of not less than 10 and not more than 12 members appointed by the Minister.
(3) The marine functions and associated powers exercised by the bodies listed in subsection (4) shall instead by exercisable by the MMO.
(4) Those bodies are-
(a) the Department
(b) the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
(c) the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure
(d) the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
(e) the Department of Regional Development
(f) the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
(g) the Northern Ireland Environment Agency
(5) For the purposes of this section a “marine function” is any function which relates to, or whose exercise is capable of affecting, the whole or any part of the Northern Ireland inshore region.
(6) It is the duty of the MMO to secure that the MMO functions are so exercised that the carrying on of activities by persons in the MMO’s area is managed, regulated or controlled-
(a) with the objective of making a contribution to the achievement of sustainable development,
(b) taking account of all relevant facts and matters, and
(c) in a manner which is consistent and co-ordinated.
Any reference in this Act to the MMO’s “general objective”is a reference to the duty imposed on the MMO by this subsection.
(7) In pursuit of its general objective, the MMO may take any action which it considers necessary or expedient for the purpose of furthering any social, economic or environmental purposes.
(8) The Department may give the MMO guidance with respect to the exercise of any of the MMO’s functions.
(a) The MMO must have regard to any guidance given to it under this Act by the Department.
(b) Before giving any such guidance, the Department must consult-
(i) the MMO, and
(ii) such other bodies or persons as the Department considers appropriate.
(c) The Department shall publish any guidance given to the MMO under this subsection.
(9)The Department may give the MMO general or specific directions with respect to the exercise of any of the MMO’s functions.
(a) Before giving directions under this section, the Department must consult the MMO.
(b) Consultation under subsection (a) is not required if the Department considers that there is an emergency.
(c) The MMO must comply with any directions given to it under this section.
(d) The giving of any directions under this section must be publicised in such manner as the Department considers appropriate for the purpose of bringing the matters to which the directions relate to the attention of persons likely to be affected by them.
(e) Copies of any directions given under this section are to be made available by the MMO to members of the public on payment of such reasonable fee as the MMO may determine.
(10) The MMO shall use its best endeavours to meet such objectives as the Department may from time to time set with regard to the quality and effectiveness of its performance.
(11) For each financial year, the MMO must prepare an annual report on how it has discharged its functions during the year.
(a) The MMO must send the report to the Department as soon as possible after the end of the year to which it relates.
(b) The Department must lay a copy of the report before the Assembly.
(c) In this paragraph “financial year” means-
(i) the period that begins with the day on which the MMO is established, and ends with the next 31st March
(ii) each subsequent period of 12 months ending with 31st March.
(12) The Department may by order make such supplemental, incidental or consequential provisions as appears to the Department to be appropriate as a result of subsections (1) and (2).’