Publication - Consultation paper

2014 Consultation on the Management of Inshore Special Areas of Conservation and Marine Protected Areas Approaches.

Published: 11 Nov 2014
Part of:
Marine and fisheries
ISBN:
9781784128913

2014 Public Consultation on the Management of Inshore Special Areas of Conservation and Marine Protected Areas Approaches.

77 page PDF

570.7 kB

77 page PDF

570.7 kB

Contents
2014 Consultation on the Management of Inshore Special Areas of Conservation and Marine Protected Areas Approaches.
Protected Area G - Luce Bay & Sands SAC

77 page PDF

570.7 kB

Protected Area G - Luce Bay & Sands SAC

This section sets out 3 possible management approaches for this protected area.

Approach 2 is preferred because it would put in place the necessary management measures to safeguard the most sensitive habitats of the protected

A description of this protected area can be found in the main consultation document is Annex A, Protected Area G.

Maps to support understanding of the approaches can be found under Protected Area G in the technical maps document. Figure G1 shows Luce Bay & Sands in context with other protected areas.

Measures for Luce Bay & Sands SAC would be delivered by Statutory Instrument using powers under the Inshore Fishing (Scotland) Act 1984.

Questions 18 to 20 refer to Luce Bay & Sands.

The site features and conservation objectives

Qualifying Feature

Conservation objective

Large shallow inlets and bays

Maintain

Reefs (bedrock and stony)

Maintain

Mudflats and sandflats

Maintain

Sandbanks

Maintain

Summary of the management advice

Feature

Mobile gear

Static gear

Other gear

Reefs

Remove / avoid pressure from demersal trawl, mechanical dredges, or suction dredges

Consider reduce / limit pressure

Remove / avoid pressure from diver operated suction dredging

Maerl beds

Remove / avoid pressure demersal trawl, mechanical dredges, or suction dredges

Consider reduce / limit pressure

Remove / avoid pressure from diver operated suction dredging

Sabelleria Spp

Remove / avoid pressure demersal trawl, mechanical dredges, or suction dredges

Remove / avoid pressure from diver operated suction dredging or tractor dredging

Sandbanks

Reduce / limit pressure from demersal trawl, mechanical dredges, or suction dredges on 'subtidal gravely and clean sands' and 'subtidal muddy sands'

Remove / avoid pressure from diver operated suction dredging or tractor dredging on 'subtidal gravely and clean sands', 'subtidal muddy sands' and 'Intertidal clean sands'

Reefs and maerl beds are highly sensitive to abrasion caused by mobile gears and have a high potential for interaction with dredging (especially maerl and stony reef). Furthermore, the character and quality of maerl habitat can be substantially affected by fishing for bivalves with hydraulic fishing gears due to disruption of the surface and underlying sediment.

Sabellaria reef is sensitive to physical disturbance, although noting that the likelihood of interaction with mobile gears is relatively low. Intertidal fisheries could, however, be relevant.

The sandbank features are sensitive to hydraulic gears in a similar way to maerl, however they are likely to be more tolerant of surface abrasion by mobile gears - hence the advice being to reduce or limit fishing intensity. Also, the seasonal restriction would facilitate recovery the benthic communities between periods of fishing.

The approaches to management

Static gear assessment

According to Scotmap there are a low number of creel vessels operating in the protected area. The measures being proposed for mobile gear are unlikely to cause any change in activity level. However if future studies found there to be a negative effect then this would be addressed then.

Existing management measures

The Inshore Fishing (Prohibition of Fishing and Fishing Methods) (Scotland) Order 2004 (276/2004) prohibits the use of mobile or active gear from 1 st March to 31 st August in each year.

The Scallops (Irish Sea) (Prohibition of Fishing) (Variation) Order 1986 prohibits fishing for scallops (Pecten maximus) between 1 st June and 31 st October each year.

In combination this means that a scallop dredge fishery may only take place in Luce Bay during January, February, November & December each year.

Approach 1

This approach would apply management across the entire SAC.

The proposed measures

The following activities would be prohibited all year round as shown in figure G2;

Demersal trawling
Mechanical Dredging (boat and tractor operated)
Suction Dredging (boat, tractor, and diver operated)

The benefit

By removing or avoiding the pressures being exerted on the qualifying habitats the measures will ensure that these activities will not prevent the achievement of the conservation objectives. It also would mean that future changes to fisheries policy and management are unlikely to require an appropriate assessment.

The costs

For over 15m vessels which have VMS the following data can be derived using a dataset from 2010 to 2013. There have only been scallop dredgers active in Luce Bay in that time period

Gear

Effort (Hours)

Value

Dredge

744

£69

Table G1: Average annual impact of approach 1 based on 2010 to 2013 data for over 15 metre vessels (rounded to nearest £000s)

Luce Bay and Sands covers part of ICES rectangle 38E5. According to the analysis of Scotmap data dredge fisheries approximately 63% of the total value of that ICES Rectangle is taken from the SAC. For 2013 this equates to approximately 20 effort days and £25,000.

The displacement effects

There are significant scallop dredge grounds within 20 nm which equates to 2-3 hours steaming time (see figures 5 and 7). Therefore any displacement of activity from the SAC can be dispersed over a wide area stretching from Corsewall point to Kirkcudbright. Given the relatively low amount of effort this is unlikely to have any effect on the environment outwith the SAC. The Luce Bay fishery tends to provide a bad weather refuge which means that the grounds in more open waters may not be available to the fleet.

It is presently unknown whether there is a tractor based fishery in Luce Bay.

Approach 2 (preferred approach)

This would apply management across the whole SAC but provide a permitted area for mechanical dredging for catching scallops.

The proposed measures

The following activities would be prohibited all year round;

Demersal trawling
Mechanical Dredging (by tractor)
Suction Dredging (boat, tractor and diver operated)

The following activities would be permitted under specific circumstances;

Mechanical Dredging (by vessel)

This would be permitted in the light pink area outlined on the map (see figure G3) during the months of January, February, November, and December each year. The current seasonal prohibitions would be combined into one and therefore management would not be affected should the wider Irish Sea measures reduce in the future.

The benefit

By removing or avoiding the pressures being exerted on the most sensitive qualifying habitats and reducing or limiting pressure on the other qualifying habitats, the measures will ensure that these activities will not prevent the achievement of the conservation objectives. It also would mean that future changes to fisheries policy and management are unlikely to require an appropriate assessment.

The costs

Method

Average annual SAC value

Average annual value affected

% of value affected

Average annual effort hours in SAC

Average annual effort hours affected

% of effort affected

Dredge

£69

£33

47.5%

744

293

39%

Table G2: Average annual impact of approach 2 based on 2010 to 2013 data for over 15 metre vessels (rounded to nearest £000s)

Luce Bay and Sands covers part of ICES rectangle 38E5. According to the analysis of Scotmap data dredge fisheries approximately 63% of the total value of that ICES Rectangle is taken from the SAC. For 2013 this equates to approximately 20 effort days and £25,000. If the same proportion of activity (39%) was affected by the measures this would equate to 8 effort days and £9,750 for the year.

The displacement effects

There are significant scallop dredge grounds within 20 nm which equates to 2-3 hours steaming time (see figures 5 and 7). Therefore any displacement of activity from the SAC can be dispersed over a wide area stretching from Corsewall point to Kirkcudbright. Given the relatively low amount of effort this is unlikely to have any effect on the environment outwith the SAC. The larger vessels in the fleet have greater range and capability to operate in poorer weather and the smaller vessels would still be able to operate in Luce Bay on a more limited scale than at present.

It is presently unknown whether there is a tractor based fishery in Luce Bay.

Approach 3

This would apply management across the whole SAC but only restrict mechanical dredging where there is reef habitat or maerl beds. If taking this approach there would be a need for the industry to collaborate with Marine Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage to monitor the effects of the measures. If there was a negative effect then the measures would have to be changed at a later date.

The proposed measures

The following activities would be prohibited all year round;

Demersal trawling
Mechanical Dredging (by tractor)
Suction Dredging (boat, tractor and diver operated)

Mechanical Dredging (by vessel) would only be prohibited in the 2 areas in dark pink (see figure G4). The current seasonal prohibitions would be combined into one and therefore management would not be affected should the wider Irish Sea measures reduce in the future.

The benefit

By removing or avoiding the pressures being exerted on the most sensitive qualifying habitats and reducing or limiting pressure on the other qualifying habitats, the measures will ensure that these activities will not prevent the achievement of the conservation objectives. It also would mean that future changes to fisheries policy and management are unlikely to require an appropriate assessment. This approach would be the highest risk but would maximise the return from the scallop fishery

The costs

In addition to these impacts there would be some minor additional costs for industry for their part in the condition monitoring programme. It has been assumed that the same value can be gained from the area even through a curfew would reduce effort somewhat.

Method

Average annual SAC value

Average annual value affected

% of value affected

Average annual effort hours in SAC

Average annual effort hours affected

% of effort affected

Dredge

£69

£8

11.5%

744

92.5

12.5%

Table G3: Average annual impact of approach 3 based on 2010 to 2013 data for over 15 metre vessels (rounded to nearest £000s)

Luce Bay and Sands covers part of ICES rectangle 38E5. According to the analysis of Scotmap data dredge fisheries approximately 63% of the total value of that ICES Rectangle is taken from the SAC. For 2013 this equates to approximately 20 effort days and £25,000. If the same proportion of activity (12.5%) was affected by the measures this would equate to 2.5 effort days and £3,125 for the year.

The displacement effects

Under this approach there would be little displacement of the mechanical dredge activity that takes place in the winter months. There would be other grounds within Luce Bay that could absorb this.

It is presently unknown whether there is a tractor based fishery in Luce Bay.


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