Government conservation bodies, such as Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and NatureScot, carry out surveys to determine which habitats need protecting and identify boundaries for MPAs within territorial waters (within 12 nautical miles of land). The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is responsible for identifying and providing conservation advice on Marine Protected Areas in UK offshore waters (more than 12 nautical miles from the coast). This conservation advice from these experts helps the law makers understand how human activity may be disturbing species and habitats and what specific measures are needed to protect them.
Local authorities, harbour authorities, the Environment Agency and Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCA) have powers to protect their marine environment on a local level in England. English offshore areas are managed by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). Marine Scotland manages marine conservation, fishing and other activities that need a marine license in all of Scotland’s waters, which amount to 62% of UK waters. In Wales, 139 MPAs covering 69% of inshore waters are managed by Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales.
The UK Government is responsible for managing fishing in English waters, the Scottish Government in Scottish waters, the Welsh Government in Welsh waters and the Northern Irish Government in Northern Irish waters. In England, IFCA (Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities) manages inshore areas. MMO (Marine Management Organisation) manages offshore areas. Some MPAs overlap the two. Marine Scotland manages all fishing and marine conservation in Scotland's waters. In Wales, fishing activity is managed by Welsh Government.