Publication - Consultation responses

2014 Consultation on the management of inshore Special Areas of Conservation and Marine Protected Areas - Consultation analysis report

Published: 10 Jul 2015
Part of:
Marine and fisheries
ISBN:
9781785444890

2014 Consultation on the management of inshore Special Areas of Conservation and Marine Protected Areas - Consultation analysis report. Summary of the responses received relating to each site.

236 page PDF

11.9 MB

236 page PDF

11.9 MB

Contents
2014 Consultation on the management of inshore Special Areas of Conservation and Marine Protected Areas - Consultation analysis report
11. Loch Sween MPA

236 page PDF

11.9 MB

11. Loch Sween MPA

11.1. Introduction

11.1.1. Loch Sween MPA was designated to protect its burrowed mud, maerl beds, native oysters, sublittoral mud and mixed sediment communities.

11.1.2. The consultation presented two possible management approaches for this area:

  • Approach 1 would prohibit suction dredging (boat or diver operated) throughout the MPA and restrict activities on a zonal basis. Further consideration would be required in respect of sublittoral mud and mixed sediment communities.
  • Approach 2 builds on the first by increasing the level of zonal protection. In addition a curfew on mechanical dredging would be implemented in the outer part of the MPA to limit pressure on the habitats there.

11.2. We Asked

11.2.1. The consultation asked: 'Do you support the preferred approach (number 2) for managing this protected area? A follow up question asking about support for the alternate approach was also asked.

11.2.2. The consultation also asked 'Do you agree with the economic, social, and environmental assessments of the impact of the management approaches?'

11.3. You Said

11.3.1. Ten respondents answered 'yes' in support of the preferred approach, whilst 17 respondents answered 'no'. Environment /conservation organisations accounted for nine of the 17 respondents that did not support the preferred approach and only one environment /conservation respondent answered in the affirmative. Table 11.1 summarises the responses received.

Table 11.1: Loch Sween MPA - Support for preferred management approach

Yes

No

Other comments

No reply

Individuals (133)

4

3

-

126

Environment / Conservation (17)

1

9

-

7

Inshore Fisheries Group ( IFG) (3)

-

-

-

3

Industry / Transport (6)

-

-

-

6

Mobile fishing (8)

2

-

1

5

Local authority (3)

1

-

-

2

Local group (7)

1

1

-

5

Recreation / Tourism (13)

1

2

-

10

Static fishing (4)

-

2

1

1

Other (2)

-

-

-

2

Total (196)

10

17

2

167

11.3.2. Two respondents commented without giving an indication of unqualified support or otherwise and these are counted in the 'other comments' column in the table above. A mobile fishing respondent answered that they "partially" supported the preferred approach and a static fishing respondent stated "we support proportionate conservation measures with minimum impact on commercial fisheries".

11.3.3. Nineteen respondents, eight that answered 'yes', nine that answered 'no' and two others, made further comments.

11.3.4. The major theme in comments from those that did not support the preferred approach was that mechanical dredging /trawling should be removed from the entire area. Two environment /conservation organisations commented that the zone of no demersal trawl or mechanical dredge should potentially be extended to better protect Maerl outside of the Loch boundary.

11.3.5. Another environment /conservation respondent specifically recommended the prohibition of hand gathering in Loch Sween in order to eliminate any possibility of native oyster being removed when fishing for other shellfish species.

11.3.6. Two mobile fishing organisations, one that fully supported and one that partially supported the preferred approach, commented that Approach 2 with a 6 month winter closure would be a fair proposal. Two others commented that they supported the approach because they had been advised that it would negate the need to revisit management measures, specifically for burrowed-mud.

11.3.7. A local authority and a mobile fishing respondent both noted that the measures under Approach 2 may necessitate consideration of the extent of creel fishing in the area.

11.3.8. The other themes in comments from those supporting the preferred approach focused on the need for conservation and protection.

11.3.9. Those who did not support the preferred option were asked: 'Do you support the other approach?' and all seventeen answered 'no'.

11.3.10. The predominant theme from 15 respondents that made additional comments was that Approach 1 provided even less protection and conservation than the preferred approach and that all trawling /dredging should be excluded. One environment /conservation respondent suggested consideration to 'no take' in the area.

11.3.11. Three respondents made comment that temporal restrictions are ineffective and quoted examples of the disturbance impacts that would be likely.

11.3.12. Six respondents answered 'yes' and 13, including six environment /conservation organisations, answered 'no' in response to whether they agreed with the economic, social, and environmental assessments of the impact of the management approaches.

11.3.13. Seventeen respondents, 11 who answered 'no', two that answered 'yes' and four others, made comments regarding the economic, social, and environmental assessments of the impact of the management approaches.

11.3.14. Three respondents commented on economic and employment advantages associated with closing inshore areas to mobile gear, and cited evidence from the Isle of Man that "closed areas benefit the fishing industry by reseeding fished areas".

11.3.15. Conversely, two mobile fishing respondents commented that economic considerations needed to be taken into account; one added: "a 6 month closure is a sufficient enough to respect environmental considerations". Two other mobile fishing respondents referred to a lack of time to consider the environmental report and added that they reserve judgement on the economic and social assessments due to their recall of discussions during stakeholder engagement regarding the relevance and completeness of data provided.

11.3.16. Three environment /conservation respondents commented that prohibition on the use of mobile demersal gear should be extended throughout the entire MPA in order to meet the conservation objectives. Respondents referred to information, which they said had been provided at the stakeholder workshops, which suggested that maerl beds had been severely damaged throughout the site.

11.3.17. A further two environment /conservation respondents commented that the assessment has failed to consider the benefits that the proposed measures may bring, whether economic, social, health and/or environmental.

11.3.18. Other comments included:

  • A suggested assessment of static gear use in the site and consideration of precautionary safeguards against any future increase in effort or scale of static gear.
  • An observation that the static gear assessment shows low activity, perhaps as a result of mobile gear activity.
  • A suggestion that the figures given for the income from shellfish fishing are overestimated.
  • A suggested need for compliance and management approaches to minimise honey-potting, nomads and recreational creelers and divers.
  • Agreement from a local authority that the proposed measures present an appropriate balance between environmental protection and socio-economic impact on activities.

11.4. We Did

11.4.1. Comments relating to creel fishing and benefits have been addressed in the broad issues section.

11.4.2. The Scottish Government accepts that the maerl records at the mouth of the loch should be protected from mobile gear fisheries. However the statements made by some respondents relating to discussions at the October management forum are incorrect. At no time did anyone from Scottish Government or Scottish Natural Heritage say that damage to maerl beds had been caused by fishing activity. The truth is nobody knows what has happened but it's known that the records stated that the maerl bed was "sparse" as far back as 1984.

11.4.3. The Scottish Government does not accept that a seasonal closure within the body of Loch Sween to enable a summer trawl fishery is suitable. There would be a risk of not furthering the conservation objectives.

11.4.4. The Scottish Government does not accept that there is a need to prohibit mobile gear from the whole MPA to achieve the conservation objectives. It appears that some respondents appear to have misinterpreted the SNH management options paper. Furthermore a seasonal closure within the body of Loch Sween to enable a summer trawl fishery would not provide any certainty that the conservation objectives can be furthered.

11.4.5. The use of temporal and capacity restrictions will limit the potential amount of mobile gear fishing. Along with the spatial restrictions this is considered to be a good package of measures to further the conservation objectives of all the features. Examples of the full range of biotopes within the sedimentary habitats are included in the spatial measures.

11.4.6. We intend to implement the following measures by an Order under the Inshore Fishing (Scotland) Act 1984;

  • To prohibit the use of the following fishing methods - suction dredge, mechanical dredge, beam trawl, demersal trawl, and hand gathering throughout the MPA.
  • By way of derogation mechanical dredge, demersal trawl, and hand gathering will be permitted in a specified zone. In addition a capacity restriction of 75 gross tonnes will apply to any vessel operating under this derogation. Furthermore the use of mechanical dredge will be restricted to the hours of 0700 - 2100 Monday to Friday each week.
  • The existing restriction on suction dredging will be replaced and extended by these measures.

11.4.7. The measures and their ecological value are shown in appendix 11.


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