SSACN are recommending that only sustainable methods such as creeling, hand diving for scallops and angling should be allowed inside MPAs and that all active / towed gear (trawls, dredged and hydraulic methods) should be excluded following the historically unchecked destruction of many inshore marine environments by those methods.
It is extremely important that sea anglers and those interested in marine conservation respond to it – details of How to Respond can be found here, the Consultation Questions here and please remember to fill in the Respondent Information Form which can be found here.
This is not SSACN scaremongering or targeting specific individuals, the Scottish Government’s Marine Atlas itself raises concerns around the condition of the majority of habitats in Scotland’s marine environment, especially the health of shallow and shelf subtidal sediments in areas such as the Solway Firth and North Channel, and highlights their vulnerability to damage from dredging and bottom trawling.
Given that, it beggars belief that, despite many independently verified scientific studies demonstrating the damage being caused to the whole marine environment by those fishing methods it is still proposed to allow them within the proposed management measures – totally undermining the very notion of a ‘protected’ area.
Questions you may consider asking:
- How are near-shore fish stocks and species to recover when there will be no change to the impact made by dredging and bottom trawling ?
- Why does the management of MPAs and SACs exclude the interests of the recreational sector ?
- Why did Marine Scotland not include a no-dredging and bottom trawling option for MPA management ?
- What is the point of having an MPA if it still allows damaging activities such as dredging and
bottom trawling to continue?
- Is it not appropriate under Article 6(2) of the Habitats Directive to exclude mobile fishing gear from all MPAs and SACs until further site specific assessments are carried out ?
- How will they achieve Good Environmental Status by 2015 under the Water Framework Directive for the shallow suntidal areas if they continue to allow bottom trawling on burrowed mud?
- How will the proposed management measures contribute to the Scottish Government’s plan for a revived Clyde under the Clyde 2020 initiative if these activities are allowed to continue?
- How will Marine Scotland Compliance be able to enforce MPAs if they are to be subdivided into complex areas with different management measures?
- Why was the consultation process not easier to engage with – a limited number of meetings and a poorly developed website made it hard to access background information for those not directly involved in the process.
This is a link to a web based campaign by a collaborative group of NGO’s which SSACN supports. It also has a standard letter for people to use with useful pointers.