The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network

            A charity registered in Scotland - RegNo:: SC039015


A new management policy for The Wash

Although The Wash is not in Scotland, one can easily see the parallels.

Wildlife and fishermen in The Wash are to benefit from a new agreement to improve shellfish management and protect the natural environment within The Wash - an internationally important area for marine wildlife.

Over-fishing contributed to a collapse in shellfish stocks in the early 1990s and for the next 10 years there were few signs of recovery. The number of mussel beds fell from over 30 beds in peak years to just one recorded bed in 1997, and cockle stocks also reached record lows and was closed.

After a series of scientific workshops, new research, new management measures and ten years of dialogue and partnership there has been a marked improvement in the health of both the wildlife and fisheries in the area.

Collaboration between these traditionally divergent stakeholder groups was paramount to achieving consensus on practical and effective policy measures. It has only been in the last few years that, by taking an adaptive, co-management approach, this agreement has been reached.

The Shellfish Management Policies have shown that successful commercial fisheries can continue to operate whilst safeguarding the wildlife interests of the site.

Commercial fishing representatives said: “Agreeing these policies is important as it has enabled the industry to have direct involvement in management of these fisheries upon which our livelihoods depend.”

Pity they had to bring the fishery to its knees before they could see that.

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