Developing a participatory approach to the management of fishing activity in UK offshore Marine Protected Areas
Successfully involving the fishing sector and stakeholders in decision-making over the…
The MPA Coalition has attracted support from every part of the UK and beyond.
In the four weeks since its launch in Westminster, fishermen and fishing businesses from Shetland to Cornwall have registered their support and made substantial contributions to the Coalition’s fighting fund.
The latest body to join is the newly formed Dutch Demersal Fishermen’s Association (VisNed) whose members are concerned about the impact of marine protected areas on the operation of their vessels in UK waters.
The MPA Coalition was established to ensure that the fishing industry has a strong voice before decisions are made on the designation of marine protected areas and the management measures required within them.
The Coalition has met with senior Defra officials and Natural England to challenge aspects of the process of establishing MPAs that are unacceptable or opaque and to discuss the fishing industry’s principal areas of concern.
The next meeting between the Coalition and Natural England will focus on the key question of fishermen’s chart information. In the meantime, the Coalition has been in contact with the Welsh Assembly government and hopes to meet its officials shortly. Also, now that the Scottish legislation has been enacted the Coalition will also seek a meeting with Scottish government officials at the earliest opportunity.
The Coalition independent chairman, Dr Stephen Lockwood, told Fishing News, “Government departments and agencies have shown that they recognise the MPA Fishing Coalition as the body to speak of behalf of the fishing industry at a high strategic level. It is extremely important that every fisherman and fishing organisation supports it no matter how big or small.”
“Marine protected areas are a reality and it will be too late to complain after they are in place. Fishermen who want their voice to be heard at national level should not leave it to others but should support the Coalition – now!”
Any contribution to the fighting fund should be addressed to the MPA Fishing Coalition, c/o NFFO, 30 Monkgate, York, YO31 7PF.