Skip to main content

About us

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has been established to make a significant contribution to sustainable development in the marine area and to promote the UK government’s vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.

The MMO is an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB) established and given powers under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. This brings together, for the first time, key marine decision-making powers and delivery mechanisms.

The MMO is an enabling marine regulator, helping marine industries expand and grow wherever possible. By following the principles of better regulation and pursuing innovative management arrangements, we will improve efficiencies for those we regulate by reducing regulatory burdens. In following the principles of better regulation we are committed to the 'Regulators' Code' and the principles of the 'Accountability for regulator impact'.


The MMO began operating in April 2010, incorporating the work of the Marine and Fisheries Agency (MFA) and acquiring new roles, powers and functions previously associated with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Department for Transport (DfT). Establishing the MMO marked a fundamental shift in how activities in our marine area are planned, regulated and licensed, with an emphasis on sustainable development.


As at 31 March 2013, the MMO has 321 members of staff, with:

  • 51 working within the marine licensing function
  • 16 working within the marine planning function
  • 159 working within operations, which includes fisheries vessel licensing, quota management, marine conservation and enforcement, statistics and analysis, and staff based in our coastal offices
  • 76 working in support functions such as finance, IT, communications, human resources, legal, health and safety and board and executive teams

More information on staff members and salary disclosures.

The MMO worked hard to ensure expertise was not lost and business continuity when transitioning from the MFA to the MMO. This included a substantial programme of action to relocate MFA staff who chose to move to the MMO, and training and development of incoming staff.

Investors in People

Investors in People logoThe MMO met the requirements of the Investors in People standard in January 2013. The MMO will work to continually improve the consistency and opportunities for staff members and their access to training, learning and development and use the recommendations to work towards the Investors in People Gold Standard by March 2016.

Investors in Diversity

Working Towards Investors in Diversity logoThe MMO has decided to go for Investors in Diversity status following the success we enjoyed in attaining the Investors in People standard. The MMO wants to recognise the fact that we all respect one another and be a leading organisation in this area too.

The first stage will provide us with a health check to ensure that we are on the road to having equality, diversity and inclusion embedded into our organisation.

Civil service reform

The civil service is reforming so that it is capable of meeting rising public expectations while delivering services during spending cuts.

Through the Civil Service Reform Programme, the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Head of the Civil Service are implementing their vision for an exceptional civil service delivering the best for Britain.

Marine Management Organisation has so far responded to this reform by:

  • working with a range of other public bodies, in particular with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' network partners on the 'one business' programme, to achieve efficiencies and increase the effectiveness of how we work
  • introducing an updated performance management approach for the 2014/15 reporting year that reflects the new civil service performance management framework
  • continuing to seek and act on feedback from customers and stakeholders with the overall aim of improving their satisfaction with our services

Where we work

The MMO has offices in Newcastle, London and in 14 locations on the English coast. The decision to locate the main office of the MMO in Tyneside was part of ongoing efforts to relocate civil service jobs out of London and the South East to make savings of £78 million. As part of this programme, around 20,000 jobs were relocated out of the South East, with fewer than 1,000 of these jobs moving to the North East.

Key responsibilities

We have a wide range of responsibilities, including:

  • implementing a new marine planning system designed to integrate the social requirements, economic potential and environmental imperatives of our seas
  • implementing a new marine licensing regime that is easier for everyone to use with clearer, simpler and quicker licensing decisions
  • managing UK fishing fleet capacity and UK fisheries quotas
  • working with Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) to manage a network of marine protected areas (marine conservation zones and European marine sites) designed to preserve vulnerable habitats and species in UK marine waters
  • responding to marine emergencies alongside other agencies
  • developing an internationally recognised centre of excellence for marine information that supports the MMO’s decision-making process.

Further information

Her Majesty's Government and the Marine Management Organisation Framework Document 2012 (PDF 788 KB) updated July 2013 after the Ministry of Defence withdrew their sponsorship of the MMO

Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Help with documents

Some of these documents are in the portable document format (PDF) for downloading. Adobe Acrobat Reader can be freely downloaded from