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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Fishing Livelihoods Must Not be forgotten in European Marine Sites Management


The NFFO is warning that industry must be given sufficient time to engage and present evidence in forthcoming consultations on European Marine Sites. IFCAs and the MMO are commencing consultations with respect to conservation features deemed highly vulnerable to certain types of fishing activity for coastal waters sites (<12nm off the coast).

The approach is being pursued by the management authorities in cases where assessments have not previously been completed and management applied following site designation.

This is in line with a revised process for English waters initiated by Defra last September which followed the threat of legal challenge from the NGOs ClientEarth and the Marine Conservation Society. The intention is to introduce management measures for features deemed highly vulnerable, so called “red” risk features, by the end of 2013. For those deemed as "amber", more detailed assessments are planned with any associated management introduced by the end of 2016. Details of the revised approach can be found on the Marine Management Organisation's website at: 

http://www.marinemanagement.org.uk/protecting/conservation/ems_fisheries.htm

Dale Rodmell, Assistant Chief Executive of the Federation said: “The process must allow for evidence to be brought forward in order to corroborate the locations of features so that management boundaries do not unnecessarily impinge on fishing areas.”

“It is vital that management makes practical distinction between areas with the types of ecology that would be vulnerable to any new fishing incursions from those areas that have been fished extensively and have ecology that continues to exist in the presence of that activity. In such cases, fisheries that may have existed for decades or more must be recognised and special care taken to avoid unnecessary impacts to livelihoods.”

“NGOs who claim to be supporters of the livelihoods of inshore fishermen or wish to understand the local issues at a specific site ought to be able to recognise the reasonableness and common sense of such an approach and refrain from any abstract legal response to European Directives that are widely regarded as containing significant flaws.”