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 A - East Mingulay SAC

77 page PDF

570.7 kB

Protected Area A - East Mingulay SAC

Introduction

This section sets out 2 possible management approaches for this protected area. This is one of the few sites where management of static gear fisheries is proposed due to the presence of fragile Lophelia Pertusa reefs.

Approach 1 is preferred because it would put in place the necessary management measures to protect the reefs but still allow the relatively low amount of fishing to continue between them. The fishery here is of economic importance to catching and processing sector on Barra.

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

Maps to support understanding of the approaches can be found under Protected Area A in the technical maps document. Figure A1 shows East Mingulay in context with other protected areas

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

Questions 1 to 3 refer to East Mingulay.

The site features and conservation objectives

Qualifying Feature

Conservation objective

Reefs (Biogenic, bedrock and stony)

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.

Remove / avoid pressure from the Lophelia Pertusa reef habitat. Consider reduce / limit pressure on stony reef

The sensitivity of bedrock reef, stony reef and Lophelia Pertusa reef primarily relates to activities which cause abrasion and physical disturbance to the seabed surface, such as those caused by mobile/active fishing gear. The delicate structure and very slow growth rates of L. Pertusa mean that reefs created by this species are highly sensitive to surface abrasion. Therefore any interaction with mobile/active gear can result in mortality of the coral by crushing, burying or wounding corals, increasing susceptibility to infection and growth of other flora and fauna on the coral surface that may eventually smother corals.

Additionally, mobile fishing gear e.g. the passing of a trawl reduces the three-dimensional structure of the coral to rubble, decreasing the complexity of the habitat with subsequent impacts on the associated community composition. 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, stony reef and L. Pertusa are sensitive to smothering from increased levels of sedimentation which can be triggered by passing mobile/active fishing gear, and for L. Pertusa, can result in the mortality of individual corals.

For static gear there is potential for surface abrasion, entanglement and subsequent damage to L. Pertusa reef, especially during the setting and hauling of equipment. For bedrock and rocky reef, static gear 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 in variable, and will be dependent on intensity of fishing and the recovery rates of the species involved.

The approaches to management

Approach 1 (preferred approach)

This approach would apply zonal management within the SAC and limit the size of vessel permitted to fish in the area to vessels of less than 100 Gross Registered Tonnage ( GRT).

The proposed measures

Within the purple areas defined in figure A2 the following activities would be prohibited all year round;

Demersal trawling
Mechanical Dredging
Suction Dredging
Hydraulic Dredging
Creel fishing
Long lining
Bottom set nets

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 are unlikely to require an appropriate assessment. This would also allow local fishermen to continue to benefit from the fishing grounds known locally as "The Jungle". The local processing factory has reported that the nephrops from this area are of the highest quality and sought after by customers.

The costs

These costs have been derived by using data from historic years to estimate the impact of the management approach. Table A1 shows the average for approach 1 at East Mingulay SAC for the years 2010 - 2013. Graphs A1 and A2 break this down into yearly estimates for value and effort respectively.

Method

Average annual MPA value

Average annual value affected

% of value affected

Average annual effort hours in MPA

Average annual effort hours affected

% of effort affected

Trawl

£4.8

£1.7

35%

56

21

37%

Table A1: Average annual impact of approach 1 based on 2010 to 2013 data for over 15 metre vessels (rounded to nearest £000s)

Analysis of Scotmap data has shown that 5% of nephrops trawl value, and 19% of nephrops creel value, from ICES rectangle 42E2 is taken from East Mingulay SAC. When applied to the catch data from 2013 for that rectangle it equates to less than £1,000 per year and 1 day fishing for trawling, and approximately £19,000 for creeling. A proportion of these values would be affected by these measures.

The displacement effects

This approach keeps displacement to a minimal amount. There is a significant amount of burrowed mud habitat suitable for both nephrops trawl and creel fisheries within 20 nm which equates approximately 3 hours steaming time. Therefore any displacement of activity from the SAC can be dispersed over a wide area (See figures A4, A5, A6). Given the relatively low amount of effort this is unlikely to have any effect on the environment out with the SAC.

Approach 2

This approach would apply measures across the whole site and zonal management within the SAC.

The proposed measures

The following would be prohibited within the whole SAC all year round;

Demersal trawling
Mechanical Dredging
Suction Dredging
Hydraulic Dredging

Within the purple areas defined in figure A3 the following activities would be prohibited all year round;

Creel fishing
Long lining
Bottom set nets

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 are unlikely to require an appropriate assessment. Removing mobile gear pressure from the whole SAC reduces risk of accidental impact to the lowest possible level.

The costs

Gear

Effort (Hours)

Value (£s)

Demersal trawl

56

£4,808

Table A2: Impact of Approach 2 for over 15 metre vessels based on data from 2010 to 2013

Analysis of Scotmap data has shown that 5% of nephrops trawl value, and 19% of nephrops creel value, from ICES rectangle 42E2 is taken from East Mingulay SAC. When applied to the catch data from 2013 for that rectangle it equates to less than £1,000 per year and 1 day fishing for trawling, and approximately £19,000 for creeling. All of the trawl value and effort would be affected and a proportion of the creel value would be affected by these measures.

The displacement effects

This approach keeps displacement of the creel fishery to a minimal amount. However there would be greater displacement in the trawl fishery which could be distributed to other grounds with 20 nm. (See figures A4, A5, A6) Given the relatively low amount of effort this is unlikely to have any effect on the environment out with the SAC.


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