HPMA Selection Process Rigged to Harm Fishing Communities

The government’s process to select Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) needs a rethink. It is deliberately relegating human use issues to a second tier to be considered only once sites have been identified exclusively based on a set of ecological criteria. Instead, it should prioritise the search for sites that fulfil ecological criteria in areas where there are synergies with existing human uses of the marine environment.

40 Marine Protected Areas in 3 Years

One per month as Government adopts Blitzkrieg approach to management measures.

NFFO Calls on Political Parties to condemn Greenpeace Vigilantes

The NFFO has written to the leaders of the main political parties, and to UK fisheries ministers and shadows, pressing them to condemn Greenpeace’s most recent publicity stunt in unequivocal terms.

Sledgehammer to Fishing in MPAs

In a shocking development, the Marine Management Organisation has announced that it intends to ban all forms of towed bottom gears in the Dogger Bank SAC and the majority of three other offshore MPAs. The knock-on effects of this brutal approach will not stay confined to MPAs as fishing activity is displaced from its customary areas. The decision has been taken with zero discussion with those affected.

Government Panel Eyes No Fishing Zones Despite Existing World-Beating UK Marine Protected Area Network

The government-sponsored Benyon Review, and its all-out advocacy for banning fishing in a new set of areas referred to as Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs), comes as a hammer blow for fishing communities having to cope with the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainties of the Brexit negotiations. This is despite Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) already comprising 40% of the total area of English waters, with a swathe of 41 sites being designated only last year.

Developing a participatory approach to the management of fishing activity in UK offshore Marine Protected Areas

Successfully involving the fishing sector and stakeholders in decision-making over the management of fisheries in marine protected areas (MPAs) is important to their overall effectiveness and sustainable management of our seas. The results of a new project including new tools and approaches to use when establishing, evaluating and adapting fisheries management measures in MPAs aims to help achieve just that.

Seal Deterent Trials to Reduce Catch Depredation

The findings of acoustic seal deterrent trials undertaken in an inshore gill net fishery have been published by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

Third Tranche of Marine Conservation Zones

An evidence-based approach and good location choice continues to be critical to the success of marine conservation, as the government announces the designation of a further 41 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in English waters.

Battle over Maximum Sustainable Yield

The dangers of one-dimensional fisheries management.

Serious Risk of Under-fishing

A group of international scientists is currently looking into whether the fisheries in our waters are now seriously under-fished, forgoing landings amounting to something in the region of 5% of the global catch of wild fish. Dr Henrik Sparholt, who for many years held a senior position within ICES, recently presented an outline of a research project to understand this development with more precision, to a meeting of the Executive Committee of the North Sea Advisory Council.

Bolder Management of Spurdog Recovery Vital

The latest scientific advice on spurdog points to the reintroduction of a bycatch allowance as the most sensible management strategy to recover the stock. This would prevent the needless discarding of dead catch, remove an incentive to retain smooth hound as substitution, and restore the evidence base generated by the fishing fleet that underpins management decision-making.

Irish Sea Turnaround

“I told you so” is rarely an attractive phrase. But it is difficult to avoid a tone of grim smugness when speaking about the 375% TAC increase in this year’s scientific advice for Irish Sea cod. So long regarded as a basket case, ICES has dramatically revised its perception of the stock and altered the assumptions that support its model. The advice has shifted from a zero catch in 2012, and a minimal bycatch in 2016, to a healthy allocation in 2018, with the stock considered to be above maximum sustainable yield trigger.

Economics and Fishing Policy

The Common Fisheries Policy has to date been driven almost exclusively by conservation priorities. The time has come to think about how to integrate economic thinking into CFP policy, to better achieve the principal objectives of the CFP. These are to ensure that fishing activities are environmentally sustainable in the long term and consistent with the objectives of achieving economic, social and employment benefits, and of contributing to the availability of food supplies.” (Article 2.1 of the CFP Basic Regulation. 1380/2013)

New research to aid sustainable fisheries management in Marine Protected Areas

Scientists now have a better understanding of the level of fishing activity that can be carried out within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and still remain compatible with conservation objectives thanks to new research.

Who’s to Blame for Landing the Blame?

In an open letter to the New Economics Foundation, the NFFO has challenged its misguided campaign, “Landing the Blame”, for failing to account for the range of scientific advice that must inform ministers’ decisions on TACs at the December Council.