News story

MMO seeks views on MPA site assessments for fisheries

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is asking for views to decide how fisheries should be managed in marine protected areas.

The MMO have today published site summary assessments for nine marine protected area (MPA) sites in English inshore waters (0 to 12nm), and are asking fishermen and conservationists to test their findings and submit any new evidence by 15 February 2016.

The draft sites assessments look at the impact different fishing activities have on MPA features including sand banks, reefs and wildlife such as the spiny lobster. By understanding what fishing activity takes place in these areas and how they interact with the MPA features, if required, the right and necessary management measures can be introduced.

The sites assessed include marine conservation zones (MCZ) and European marine sites (EMS). They are:

  • Fylde MCZ
  • Inner Dowsing, Race Bank and North Ridge EMS
  • Land’s End and Cape Bank EMS
  • Liverpool Bay EMS
  • Margate and Long Sands EMS
  • Outer Thames Estuary EMS
  • Shell Flat and Lune Deep EMS
  • Skerries Bank and Surrounds MCZ
  • Start Point to Plymouth Sound and Eddystone EMS

The site summary assessments include draft recommendations around how the sites should be managed. These indicate if monitoring is recommended or management measures are proposed, such as Margate and Long Sands EMS and Skerries Bank and Surrounds MCZ, where potential measures are included for protecting sandbanks and rock and the spiny lobster.

Feedback on the site summary assessments should be provided through the online questionnaire.

Any new evidence to support the site assessments should be submitted to the MMO by Monday 15 February 2016. For more details email the marine conservation team

The site assessments are part of a new approach to managing commercial fishing activity in MPAs. By prioritising activity, the MMO with the inshore fisheries and conservation authorities (IFCAs) have already assessed high risk activities and introduced new management measures, including 23 byelaws. This second phase of assessments looks at medium and low risk activities.

ENDS

Notes to editor

  • 20% of English water and almost one third of English inshore (0 to 12nm) waters are part of an MPA and are part of government’s manifesto commitment to create a Blue Belt around the coast.

  • Marine Protected Areas in inshore waters (0 to 12nm) are assessed and managed by the relevant IFCAs (inshore 0 to 6nm) and the MMO (inshore 6 to 12nnm). Defra are responsible for offshore sites (12 to 200nm). * We look at each site on a case by case basis to assign who is best placed to manage the site, depending on site features and member state access.

  • In 2012 Defra announced a revised approach to the management of fishing in European marine sites (EMS), bringing fisheries in line with other industries.

  • Applicable to all UK and non-UK commercial fishing vessels, the revised approach promotes sustainable fisheries, achieving the right balance in reducing environmental impact whilst supporting sustainable growth of this vital industry.

  • EMSs consist of special areas of conservation (SACs) which protect important habitats, and special protection areas (SPAs) which protect rare and vulnerable birds in line with the European Union (EU) Habitats Directive and Birds Directive.

  • MCZs protect nationally important habitats and species and are designated under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. The first 27 MCZs were designated on 21 November 2013.