Only by reducing the impact of damaging fishing activities within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) will they be able to play their part in rebuilding Living Seas. Following many years of lobbying, Defra now agrees with us that the impacts of commercial fishing in MPAs need to be assessed and managed.
Working with a national body of regulators and the fishing industry, we have identified high risk activities – such as scallop dredging in seagrass beds – which have already been excluded from MPAs across the country.
Medium-risk fishing activities are currently being assessed on a site-by-site basis, with appropriate management in place by the end of 2016. In line with the UK approach of ‘multiple-use’ MPAs, low-risk fishing activities will be allowed to continue.
Around the country local Wildlife Trust marine staff are working with Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities, the local fisheries regulators. Good progress is being made and we are confident that the results of everyone’s hard work will lead to effective protection of sensitive seabed habitats.
You can keep up to date with progress in MPA management and other important fisheries news through our Living Seas blog.