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 P - Upper Loch Fyne & Loch Goil MPA

77 page PDF

570.7 kB

Protected Area P - Upper Loch Fyne & Loch Goil MPA

This section sets out 2 possible management approaches for recovery of the flame shell beds, and 2 separate approaches for the rest of the protected features. Any combination would deliver sufficient protection for all the protected habitats and species.

Approaches 1a and 2a are preferred for both aspects as it maximises the recovery potential of the flame shell bed and the measures for the other habitats simpler.

A description of this protected area can be found in the main consultation document is Annex A, Protected Area P. Maps to support understanding of the approaches can be found under Protected Area P in the technical maps document. Figure P1 shows Upper Loch Fyne & Loch Goil in context with other protected areas.

Measures for South Arran would be delivered by Statutory Instrument using powers under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010.

Questions 38 to 44 refer to Upper Loch Fyne & Loch Goil.

The site features and conservation objectives

Protected Feature

Conservation objective

Flame shell beds

Recover

Sublittoral mud and specific mixed sediment communities

Conserve

Burrowed mud

Conserve

Horse mussel beds

Conserve

Ocean quahog aggregations

Conserve

Summary of the management advice

Feature

Mobile gear

Static gear

Other gear

Flame shell beds

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

Consider reduce / limit pressure

Remove / avoid pressure from diver operated suction dredging

Sublittoral mud and specific mixed sediment communities

Consider reduce or Limit pressure from demersal trawl, mechanical dredges, or suction dredges.

Remove / avoid pressure from diver operated suction dredging

Burrowed mud

Consider reduce / Limit pressure from demersal trawl, mechanical dredges, or suction dredges.

Consider reduce / limit pressure

Consider reduce / limit pressure from diver operated suction dredging

Horse mussel beds

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

Consider reduce / limit pressure

Remove / avoid pressure from diver operated suction dredging

Ocean quahog aggregations

Remove / avoid targeted fishing

The physical impacts from mobile demersal gear can affect flame shell beds and horse mussel beds through direct mortality from damage to the shells, by breaking up the bed and by affecting or removing associated fauna attached to the bed. Both types of bed are assessed as highly sensitive to the type of pressures caused by mobile, i.e. surface and sub-surface abrasion. Flame shell beds and horse mussel beds are also sensitive to the indirect effects of increased sedimentation, which can result in smothering and can result in the subsequent mortality of individuals.

Whilst there is no published evidence on the sensitivity of flame shell beds to static gear, given their high sensitivity to abrasion and due to the delicate nature of their shells and the nests, intense levels of fishing with heavy static gear could have damaging effects. There is also potential for nest material to be removed through the entanglement of creels with kelp that grows in association with flame shell beds. For horse mussel beds whilst the sensitivity to static gears is lower than for mobile gears, depending on the type of epifauna present this may increase if fishing intensity is high.

Ocean quahogs are highly sensitive to sub-surface abrasion caused by mobile demersal fishing gear. They are caught and can be damaged by beam trawls and there is some evidence that otter trawl doors may also impact ocean quahogs by bringing them to the surface. The physical impacts of dredging on seabed sediments are similar to those of beam trawls (penetration to depths >5cm) and so the effects on ocean quahog are likely to be similar. Static gears do not cause the type of pressure to which this species is sensitive (sub-surface abrasion) and so they are unlikely to have any effect.

Burrowed mud has medium sensitivity to physical pressures associated with mobile demersal fishing gear e.g. surface and sub-surface abrasion. Physical disturbance of surface of seabed is likely to affect mobile and sessile epifaunal and shallow burrowers, for example damage to seapen species is likely to take place as a result of greater sediment disturbance from towed demersal gear. Trawling for Nephrops can by reducing the number and size of burrowing individuals present, also affect the habitat structure itself in terms of the number and size of burrows present.

However, the degree of impact in terms of diversity and relative abundance of species is likely to be related to the intensity of fishing activity, and there is scope for recovery. For static gear, it is likely that when fishing activity is low, direct impacts on the habitat is likely to be minimal and seabed structure is likely to be maintained in a slightly modified state. However the impacts of increasing static gear fishing intensity and the subsequent impacts on the habitat are less well understood.

The approaches to management

Static gear assessment

It is proposed that no static gear be used in the areas essential to the recovery of flames shell bed. However given the long-term recovery period for this habitat is may be possible for there to be a limited creel fishery by permit within these recovery areas.

Static gear activity is low according to Scotmap. The current levels are not considered to be impacting on the other habitats. Consequently no additional static gear management is proposed. However if future studies found there to be a negative effect then this would be addressed then.

Measures common to all approaches

The use of suction dredges (boat or diver operated) would be prohibited throughout the MPA. A capacity restriction of 75 Gross registered Tonnage ( GRT) on vessel size would apply to the whole MPA.

Approaches for the recovery of flame shell beds (Approach 1a is preferred)

There are 2 possible approaches for this and they would both receive a high level of protection to facilitate recovery. Question 38 asks if you support this high level of protection.

Under both approaches it is proposed that no fishing should take place or the deployment of anything onto the seabed, or removal of anything from the seabed. As recovery may take a long time it would be possible to have a permit scheme for certain activities to take place under specific conditions. Question 39 asks if provision should be made for this.

The only difference in the approaches is the spatial extent of the recovery area. One is based upon the existing voluntary fisheries management arrangement. The other is an extended area based upon the potential extent of the flame shell bed as defined in SNH commissioned report CR764. These zones are shown in Figures P2 and P3.

The Benefits

Flame shell beds in Upper Loch Fyne & Loch Goil MPA are one of only 4 protected features with a recovery conservation objective. The benefit of both approaches will be enabling that recovery to begin and progress over the coming years.

The Costs

This cannot be shown (years 2007 - 2013) for demersal trawl and mechanical dredge combined because of potential disclosure issues due to a low number of vessels. Both approaches have an estimated impact of less than £3,000 and 30 fishing hours per year for vessels over 15 metres. For under 15 m vessels the estimated impact is less than 2 effort days and £2,000.

Approaches for the protection of the other habitats

Approach 2a (preferred approach)

This approach would prohibit the use of demersal trawl and mechanical dredges in specific zones within the 2 lochs. These are shown in figure P4.

Approach 2b

This approach would prohibit the use of demersal trawl and mechanical dredges in the 2 lochs. In Upper Loch Fyne this would start from the northern edge of the chosen flame shell recovery area. By way of derogation these activities could continue in the areas defined in figure P5.

The benefit of both approaches

The additional spatial measures have been designed around the sedimentary habitats and the key biotopes - Fireworks anemone, horse mussels, and ocean quahogs. This will provide considerable conservation value of these biotopes ensuring that the conservation objectives are furthered

The Costs

This cannot be shown (years 2007 - 2013) for demersal trawl and mechanical dredge combined because of potential disclosure issues due to a low number of vessels. Both approaches have an estimated impact of less than £5,000 and 70 fishing hours per year for vessels over 15 metres. For under 15 m vessels the estimated impact is less than 6 effort days and £7,000.

The displacement effects of both approaches

SCOTMAP data shows that Loch Goil is of significant importance to a small number of nephrops trawl vessels (see figures P10 and P11). The management zones in this loch have been designed to balance the conservation value with the clear economic importance. The level of displacement caused should therefore be insignificant.

The footprint of trawling in Upper Loch Fyne would be reduced by these measures but some fishing grounds would remain. This means that displacement would likely be within the Loch itself, and fishermen could still get economic value particularly during bad weather.


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