The MBAs role in providing a ‘clear independent voice to government’ on behalf of the marine biological community, is particulary important when considering its role in responding to policy consultations and providing advice when requested to do so. The MBA provides a fora through which its members have the opportunity to influence policy and contribute on behalf of the association.
The MBA also utilses its in-house expertise through the numerous projects led through its marine evidence team.
The MBA draws on expertise within its membership to provide responses to consultations relating to the marine environment and to Marine Research (click on the links to access consultation responses provided by the MBA). All members who wish to contribute can fill in the policy form below and return by email to email@example.com.
The MBA also provides advice to decision makers by undertaking research to support policy through its marine evidence work, providing reports and other policy targeted outputs, sitting on policy related groups and committees and providing advice on a one-to-one basis. The MBA has also given evidence to parliamentary committees and given presentations at key policy events.
The MBA has a long history in engaging with marine policy and management and issues and in fact was originally established to answer such questions. In 1866 a Royal Commission on Sea Fisheries, which included Professor Thomas Huxley as one of its members recommended doing away with existing regulations relating to sea fishing as fears relating to over-exploitation of fish were thought to be unfounded. In one of his most famous comments Huxley, in his inaugural address to the International Fisheries Exhibition in London 1883 stated that “I believe that it may be affirmed with confidence that, in relation to our present modes of fishing, a number of the most important sea fisheries, such as the cod fishery, the herring fishery, and the mackerel fishery, are inexhaustible”1.
However, Professor Edwin Ray Lankester put forward the views of many who disagreed with Huxley’s statement by arguing that man could have a significant impact on fish stocks so that “the natural balance is upset”2, 3. Lankester went on to propose the formation of a society to answer such questions and Huxley became the first president of the society when it was established in 18844. The main source of funding came from the UK Government who wanted to support the association’s activities towards the ends of “conducting research, collecting statistics and advising on legislation”. Much support in setting up the MBA was given by the then minister for the Board of Trade (which was then responsible for fisheries) Joseph Chamberlain4.
Although the remit of the MBA became much wider than just fisheries investigations, the Association has continued to make sure that both the scientific research and scientific expertise within the organisation is used to inform policy and management.