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…
“We are determined that this will not be some kind of marine Highland Clearance”
The bodies charged with making recommendations to Government on the location and size of a network of marine conservation zones were told at a recent meeting with the NFFO that the process had the potential to be a nightmare for the fishing industry, and for them.
Natural England (responsible for recommending sites within the 6mile limit) and JNCC (responsible for making recommendations outside the 6 mile limit) were told that the recent decision to close an area within Lyme Bay had all the hallmarks of how not to approach the issue.
“Given the Government decision to establish a network of conservation zones it was clear that these could be introduced with maximum damage and disruption to fishing interests, with maximum scope for conflict – or they could be the subject of negotiation to protect key fishing areas whilst meeting conservation objectives”, said Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the NFFO, after the meeting:
“It was critically important that these formal advisers to the Government on nature conservancy came away from our meeting understanding six things:
“We came away from the meeting reasonably optimistic that the lessons of Lyme Bay had been learnt. The plans to devolve much responsibility to regional steering groups, on which respected fishing industry representatives will sit, is a sound approach. The proof of the pudding will however be in the eating.
We need clear safeguards that will ensure the centrality of the fishing industry to the process of identifying and designating the zones and the management regime that applies. We are determined that this will not be a kind of marine Highland Clearance.”