NFFO Welcomes Defra’s “Measured Approach to Designating Marine Conservation Zones”

News

Defra has launched its second tranche consultation on 23 Marine Conservation Zones which is due to run until 24th April.

Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the NFFO said:

“At the outset of this
process the fishing industry had very great concerns that this would be a tick box exercise which could lead to a
massive displacement of fishermen from their fishing grounds”

“I am pleased that Defra have rejected a wild, rushed approach
in favour of one based on building a solid knowledge base on which to make
these important decisions. We do believe that marine protected areas have an
important role to play in protecting vulnerable features and habitats. But they
must be sited in the right locations for the right reasons and to do that it is
essential to gather the necessary data. This is science versus empty gesture
politics.”

“18 of these new sites are in inshore zones where there are
particular sensitivities from both a nature conservancy and a fishing point of
view.”

“As this process goes on it is important that we keep talking
to Defra especially about those sites in the South West and Irish Sea where
decisions have been deferred.”

The Federation is encouraging the industry operating in the vicinity of individual sites to get involved in the consultation. Full details of the consultation can be found here.