Terms of Reference for a Communication Consultancy Service on Sustainable UK Fisheries


Oceana’s Mission

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organisation dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 225 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. Together, we can save the ocean.


Since 2003 Oceana has campaigned in Europe for sustainable fisheries with the aim of restoring and maintaining fish populations above healthy levels. In particular, Oceana was part of an NGO campaign (along with supporters such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s FishFight campaign) that resulted in a substantial reform of the Common Fisheries Policy in 2013, providing legal obligations for member states to fish sustainably and end discarding fish by 2020. 

This deadline has been missed, but significant progress towards this goal has been made in North-East Atlantic waters during the last two decades, leading to a reduction in the overfishing rate and an improvement in the economic performance of the fishing fleet. However, further efforts are still needed to put an end to overfishing.

The UK´s decision to leave the EU has added another layer of complexity to the management of European fish resources. Despite the UK Government’s public commitment to become a world leader in fisheries management through the implementation of “gold standards”, the Fisheries Bill and the UK’s international negotiating position are at odds with this claim. This situation is putting at risk the recovery trend achieved so far and the future sustainable exploitation of fish resources.

During the remaining months of 2020, the UK is expected to pass crucial legislation (i.e. the UK Fisheries Bill) and international agreements (e.g. the UK-EU Fisheries Agreement) regulating its fisheries and marine management. The relevance of UK waters and fisheries in the management and status of European fish resources, with the UK and EU sharing over 100 fish stocks with other third parties, makes it essential that the UK continues to strive towards sustainable fisheries and put an end to overfishing.

Work description

Oceana is looking for experts in communications and environmental campaigning who will support and elevate the communications aspects of Oceana’s Sustainable Fisheries campaign in the UK. The consultant will develop a communications strategy and deliver a communications and campaign package which promotes Oceana´s messages on sustainable fishing in the most impactful way, in order to influence the position of UK fisheries decision-makers. The consultancy service will contribute as well to building up Oceana’s profile in the UK.

Key objective: UK decision-makers adopt domestic legislation and international agreements including commitments to recovery and maintain fish stocks at healthy levels by keeping fishing pressure below sustainable levels (Maximum Sustainable Yield) and by following the best available scientific advice.

Priority areas of interest for 2020

  • UK Fisheries Bill. Communications activities should  focus on the adoption of a strong UK Fisheries Act that includes science-based management targets to maintain/exploit fish stocks at sustainable levels (MSY). If already enacted, communications will focus on influencing implementation similarly. Deadline: Around mid-October.
  • UK-EU Fisheries Agreement. An agreement between both parties is needed to establish a framework to manage shared fish stocks and avoid that cross-border governance issues drive a return to mismanagement. The agreement should contain a commitment to fish below MSY and provisions to facilitate the sustainable exploitation of fish resources. Deadline: Around mid/end October.
  • Setting catch limits for fish stocks. Catch limit decisions for 2021 for UK commercial fish stocks, including shared stocks with third parties like the EU or Norway, should be set in line with scientific advice so fish stocks are fished at sustainable levels and below MSY. Deadline: Around mid/end November.

Oceana is aware of the tight deadline for building the communications strategy and delivering the corresponding communication activities. It should be highlighted as well that for some of these areas of work the external situation can change within a matter of a week. A highly nimble and flexible approach is therefore essential.

According to the priority areas of work listed above, the main target audiences for the communications activities would be key decision makers in the UK government.

Activities and deliverables

As indicated above Oceana expects to agree with the Consultant the strategy and activities to conduct during the communication service. Oceana welcomes effective and creative proposals to deliver our messages.

Duration of the consultancy service

Consultancy duration is from 1 October – 31 December 2020, with a possible extension into 2021.


The budget for this consultancy service is capped at GBP 36,840 (VAT excluded) to include all costs associated with the service.

Instructions for applicants

Interested applicants should submit their proposal form (see Annex) along with a list of relevant previous experience and main accomplishments. Please send your application to Javier López, Campaign Director for Sustainable Fisheries at Oceana in Europe, jlopez@oceana.org no later than close of business on 24 September 2020.

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