Planning and development – collection

Managing fisheries in Marine Protected Areas

Details of how fisheries are managed in marine protected areas

To bring fisheries in line with other activities, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced on the 14 August 2012 a revised approach to managing fishing activities within European marine sites (EMS). This change in approach will promote sustainable fisheries while conserving the marine environment and resources, securing a sustainable future for both.

A Fisheries in MPAs Implementation Group was set up to manage this new approach to commercial fisheries and includes stakeholders and bodies to make sure the new approach:

  • is effective and practical
  • meets legal requirements
  • considers the effects of management measures available
  • has a suitable timetable to achieve the measures

This revised approach will be achieved on a risk-prioritised basis for sites within 12 nautical miles (nm) and will be applied to both UK and non-UK fishing vessels in accordance with EU requirements.

European marine sites (EMS) are designated to protect habitats and species in line with the European Union (EU) habitats directive and birds directive.

EMSs outside 12 nm will require legislative measures to be proposed by the European Commission in accordance with the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to ensure adequate protection. For these sites, Defra, taking account of any relevant guidance, intends to submit proposals to the European Commission for any fishery measures needed to ensure site protection is consistent with article 6 of the habitats directive, so that appropriate regulations are in place in 2016.

Management measures have been implemented already by Marine Management Organisation byelaws and Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCA) for high risk sites. Site assessments are currently being undertaken for medium/low risk sites to ascertain whether further management is required by the end of 2016.

Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) are Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) designed to protect nationally important habitats and species designated under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MaCAA). Alongside EMSs, MCZs contribute to an ecologically coherent network of UK MPAs.

On 21 November 2013, Defra designated the first tranche of 27 MCZs

On 30 January 2015 Defra opened a consultation to seek views on whether it would be appropriate to designate each of the 23 proposed MCZs in the second tranche and to add new features for conservation in 10 of the first tranche MCZs.

More details about marine protected areas in the strategic management table.

Other documents, including minutes and information notes from meetings are available from The National Archives.