The impact of commercial fishing in more than 11,500 square kilometres (7,000 square miles) of English coastal waters is being reviewed to make sure that habitats and species are not damaged by fishing.
This area for further assessment covers about one-third of the sea within six miles of English beaches where there are 89 separate European maritime sites (EMS) protected under European Union law from damage caused by existing or future fishing.
Revised management rules would meet EU directives which called for seabed habitats and species in them to be restored to a “favourable conservation status” and for activities which would “significantly disturb or deteriorate them” to be prohibited.
An existing matrix-type approach showing the effect of fishing gears on conservation objectives is being used to enable regulators to decide if priority management measures should be introduced to protect a site, or whether further assessment was necessary.
Fishing activities have been classified as red, amber, green or blue according to the potential or actual impact of fishing gear on a site.
IFCAs have already introduced byelaws restricting potentially damaging fishing from some 5,680 square kilometres of the most important near shore areas classified as red risks, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) expects measures to address amber risks to be in place by 2016.
Category: EU Government News