JNCC insists that it has listened and will listen on Marine Protected Areas

16th February 2009 in MPAs

JNCC, the Government’s statutory advisors on nature conservation, has written to the NFFO to insist that it will listen to, and fully take account of, the fishing industry’s views on the designation of marine protected areas.

The move follows a recent meeting between JNCC and NFFO in York to discuss the latest round of areas to be designated as Special Areas of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive.

In the letter, JNCC points to past examples like Stanton Bank and the North Norfolk Sandbanks, where the boundaries of the designated areas have been substantially changed in light of the evidence presented by the fishing industry.

The Federation is currently collating industry information on seabed character and fishing patterns on the Dogger Bank, with the aim of demonstrating that the feature to be protected - in this case a “slightly covered sandbank” - can be safeguarded without restricting the whole area of 14000 square kms, as currently proposed.

A formal consultation on the Dogger Bank is expected shortly.