Our projects

BLUE Legal

Whether drafting new laws or enforcing existing ones, our experts use legislation to press for environmental change 

Since 2023, the Blue Legal unit has been intensifying efforts to advocate for the proper establishment and enforcement of maritime laws. Two significant legal victories have been achieved concerning activities within marine protected areas (MPAs).  

In 2021, Blue Legal led a coalition of environmental and angling groups at a public inquiry into the cooling system of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in the west of England, and its impact on the marine ecosystem. The operation of the plant is set to abstract and discharge large amounts of water, significantly altering its temperature and potentially harming marine life. As a result of legal pressure, the developers have agreed to undertake environmental compensation measures to offset the damage.  

In 2022, Blue Legal successfully urged UK authorities to close off to harmful fishing activities the North Sea’s Dogger Bank and other offshore MPAs. Fishing restrictions were put in place for 12,000 sq. km of the UK’s portion of the Dogger for the first time in hundreds of years. Our legal efforts also include ongoing complaints to the European Commission against Germany and the Netherlands for inadequate management of the Dogger Bank.  

While many of Blue Legal’s activities remain confidential, our team strives to provide open access to legal advice where possible, such as through academic papers on our work. Our approach is to support governmental institutions, only resorting to court action when necessary to effect change.  

In 2023, the team expanded while continuing to collaborate with external specialists. Notably, legal action was taken against the UK government for granting fishing quotas that exceed scientific recommendations, establishing the principle that the fishery belongs to the public, and necessitating responsible management by the government.   

Building on past successes, Blue Legal aims to extend its efforts to other European jurisdictions, particularly in addressing fisheries management and environmental impacts. Projects include addressing complaints against the EU distant water fleet; supporting legislative drafting in the Dutch Caribbean; ensuring compliance of salmon farming with environmental laws; and advising on MPA legislation in Ireland. These actions are guided by thorough legal research, with reports disseminated widely among stakeholders.  

In 2024, Blue Legal aims to further advocate for the public’s interests in fisheries management, strengthen the enforcement of EU environmental law in its MPAs, and expand public engagement in their projects. Ongoing scrutiny of Hinkley Point C’s operations continues to ensure environmental mitigation measures are upheld.  

How to help

By working together, we can turn the tide on overfishing and the destruction of biodiversity. By supporting Blue Marine, you can help to create marine reserves around the world.


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