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

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

2014 Consultation on the Management of Inshore Special Areas of Conservation and Marine Protected Areas Approaches.
Protected Area M - St Kilda SAC

77 page PDF

570.7 kB

Protected Area M - St Kilda SAC

This section sets out the proposed management approach for this protected area.

A description of this protected area can be found in the main consultation document is Annex A, Protected Area M. Maps to support understanding of the approaches can be found under Protected Area M in the technical maps document. Figure M1 shows St Kilda in context with other protected areas.

Measures for St Kilda would be delivered by Statutory Instrument using powers under the Inshore Fishing (Scotland) Act 1984.

Questions 33 and 34 refer to St Kilda.

The site features and conservation objectives

Qualifying Feature

Conservation objective

Reefs (bedrock and stony)


Summary of the management advice


Mobile gear

Static gear

Other gear


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

Consider reduce / limit pressure

Remove / avoid pressure from diver operated suction dredging

The sensitivity of bedrock reef and stony reef primarily relates to activities which cause abrasion and physical disturbance to the seabed surface, such as those caused by mobile/active fishing gear. For bedrock reef there is a risk of direct impact to the fauna living attached to the reef, especially where trawling/dredging activities are targeting grounds very close to bedrock reef.

Mobile/active fishing gear may be used over stony reef where this is interspersed with areas of target ground types. This can result in the damage or death of fragile, erect species, such as sponges and corals, and changes to the structure of the habitat and the long term survival of its associated species. In addition to direct impacts, bedrock reef and stony reef are sensitive to smothering from increased levels of sedimentation which can be triggered by passing mobile/active fishing gear smothering the fauna and flora on the rock surface.

Static gear over bedrock and stony reef can also cause surface abrasion when being deployed or recovered, and this has the potential to cause mortality of the fragile epifauna on the reef habitat. However, the extent of these impacts on reef environments is variable, and will be dependent on intensity of fishing and the recovery rates of the species involved.

The approach to management

There is 1 approach proposed which would prohibit the use of certain fishing gears throughout the SAC.

Static gear assessment

Static gear activity is virtually non-existent according to Scotmap and Vessel Monitoring System data. Consequently no static gear management is proposed. Given the remote location it is unlikely to ever become a high intensity fishery. However if future studies found there to be a negative effect then this would be addressed then.

The proposed measures

Demersal trawl, mechanical dredging and suction dredging (boat and diver operated) would be prohibited all year round as shown in figure M2.

The benefit

By removing or avoiding the pressures being exerted on the reef habitat 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 would not require an appropriate assessment. The measures would also contribute to the management of the Special Protection Area and the World Heritage Site.

The costs

No breakdown of the costs is provided in case it identifies any individual vessel. There was less than 0.5 days fishing for less than £1000 per year on average for the years 2010 - 2013 for vessels over 15 metres. There does not appear to be any active under 15 metre vessels that would be affected by the measures.

The displacement effects

Over 4 years there has been a minimal amount of effort as shown in figure M3. Displacing this effort is unlikely to have any effect on the environment out with the SAC.