Marine species protection
Marine species protection

The following Environment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Marine species protection
  • Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
  • Habitats and Birds Directives
  • Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
  • Species specific legislation
  • Protected marine species guidance
  • Marine species protection—licensing and assessment

Brexit impact

As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this content.

For further guidance, see: Brexit—impact on environmental law and Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources.

Marine species protection in England and Wales comes from a framework of legislation that is made up of international, European and national measures, which include:

  1. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

  2. Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR Convention)

  3. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

  4. Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC (Habitats Directive) and Birds Directive 2009/147/EC (Birds Directive) and implementing national regulations, see Habitats and Birds Directives below

  5. Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981)

  6. Species specific legislation

This is similar to the framework of legislation creating the marine protected areas network in England and Wales. For more information, see Practice Note: Marine protected areas.

Convention on Biological Diversity

The CBD was opened for signature on 5 June 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Rio ‘Earth Summit’) and entered into force on 29 December 1993—90 days after the 30th ratification.

It has three