Publication - Consultation analysis

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
12. Lochs Duich, Long & Alsh MPA /SAC

236 page PDF

11.9 MB

12. Lochs Duich, Long & Alsh MPA / SAC

12.1. Introduction

12.1.1. Lochs Duich, Long and Alsh MPA was designated to protect its burrowed mud and flame shell beds. Lochs Duich, Long and Alsh was designated as a SAC for its reefs and horse mussel beds.

12.1.2. The consultation presented one management approach that would replace the licence condition that currently protects the reefs of Lochs Duich Long & Alsh. There is also currently a mobile gear seasonal closure and a restriction on trawling where only vessels under 12m registered length using a single trawl can operate. These measures would continue to be in place.

12.2. We Asked

12.2.1. The consultation asked: 'Do you support the management approach for this protected area?'

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

12.3. You Said

12.3.1. In relation to whether respondents supported the preferred approach, 11 answered 'yes' and 17 answered 'no'. Nine out of the ten environment /conservation organisations that answered did not support the approach, whereas the three mobile fishing respondents that answered were all in agreement. Table 12.1 summarises the responses received.

Table 12.1: Lochs Duich, Long and Alsh MPA / SAC - 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)

-

-

1

2

Industry / Transport (6)

-

-

-

6

Mobile fishing (8)

3

-

-

5

Local authority (3)

-

1

-

2

Local group (7)

1

1

-

5

Recreation / Tourism (13)

-

2

-

11

Static fishing (4)

2

1

1

-

Other (2)

-

-

-

2

Total (196)

11

17

2

166

12.3.2. An inshore fisheries group and a static fishing respondent commented without giving an indication of support or otherwise and these are counted in the 'other comments' column in the table above.

12.3.3. The inshore fisheries group requested a review with regard to an area of scallop ground to the north of the mouth of Kyle Rhea, commenting that closure of this area would affect smaller vessels most dependent on sheltered water. The respondent suggested that possible size restriction and 'no operation outwith daylight hours' might be appropriate for the affected area. The static fishing respondent stated here as for other areas: "we support proportionate conservation measures with minimum impact on commercial fisheries".

12.3.4. Six respondents who supported the approach and 16 of those who did not support the approach made additional comments.

12.3.5. The main theme in additional comments was that mobile gear should be prohibited throughout the year. Whilst this was the predominant theme amongst those who did not support the preferred approach, one individual who had answered 'yes' also added: "the mobile gear summer derogation should not apply".

12.3.6. Some respondents added further explanation of the reasoning behind their preference for a year round ban on mobile gear and comments included:

  • to achieve the conservation objectives for the site /improve protection of marine habitats.
  • to develop a better understanding of the effects of creeling on reef and burrowed mud habitats.
  • to mitigate concerns about the indirect effects of trawling and dredging, such as "smothering of features due to increased suspended sediment, especially given the proximity of the western boundary of the fishing zone to the flame shell beds".
  • to address perceptions of a potential bias towards the commercial fishing sector /the mobile sector.

12.3.7. An environment /conservation organisation commented: "It is vital that research, compliance, monitoring and additional funding be made
available to ensure that the effect of marine activities within and outwith marine protected areas can be fully assessed". An individual respondent also observed "an area suitable for research effort over time to look at effects on habitat of creeling".

12.3.8. A local authority suggested that creel fishing effort within the site could be managed under a permit scheme, adding that this would prevent "honeypot" effects resulting from displacement of vessels, changing economics, or increased pressure. The same respondent cited awareness of possible adverse impacts on Horse Mussel beds within the SAC as a result of their removal by non -licenced divers and suggested that measures should be taken to prohibit and prevent this.

12.3.9. The three mobile fishing respondents that supported the approach commented variously on maintaining the status quo and balancing the interests of a fishery with protecting the listed features. The single environment /conservation organisation that supported the approach felt that management of non-selective fishing practices would preserve the integrity of key habitats.

12.3.10. Five respondents, comprising two individuals, two static fishing respondents and one local group answered 'yes' in response to whether they agreed with the economic, social, and environmental assessments of the impact of the management approaches.

12.3.11. Twelve respondents, comprising six environment /conservation organisations, a local authority, a local group, a mobile fishing respondent, an IFG, a recreation /tourism organisation and an individual answered 'no', disagreeing with the economic, social, and environmental assessments of the impact of the management approach.

12.3.12. Six respondents who had answered, together with three others who had not specified whether they agreed or otherwise, added comments at this question.

12.3.13. Three mobile fishing respondents noted that the environmental report on management measures was not available at the beginning of the public consultation.

12.3.14. Three 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.

12.3.15. Two environment /conservation organisations noted that they agreed with the advice to remove/avoid pressure from flame shell beds and reef features but did not agree with the management advice to reduce/limit pressure on the burrowed mud features. Specifically, they commented that "any of the component species of burrowed mud, particularly fireworks anemones and tall sea pens, are highly sensitive to disturbance by mobile demersal fishing gear such as trawling". They added that a site-wide prohibition on mobile demersal gear would allow research on the environmental impacts of creel fishing on burrowed mud and Annex 1 reef features to be conducted and highlighted a lack of available research on this subject.

12.3.16. One other environment /conservation respondent reiterated concern that any use of mobile gear would pose an unacceptable level of risk to designated features.

12.3.17. A local authority commented that account had not been taken of potential positive economic benefits accruing from the complete closure of the MPA to mobile fishing gear, "which would allow for the expansion of locally based, scallop diving and recreational diving operations as well as reducing the likelihood of gear conflicts with static gear fishermen in the area". The respondent also felt that there had not been efforts to quantify the potential for areas outwith the MPA to benefit from ecological improvements that might result from a reduction in mobile gear pressure throughout the site.

12.4. We Did

12.4.1. Comments relating to the environmental report and creel fishing have been addressed in the broad issues section.

12.4.2. The management proposal that was consulted on was designed to make the current licence condition into a permanent measure. The existing SAC boundary is unique insofar as it follows a complicated pattern around the peripheries of the 3 lochs. The most recent survey data has identified reef habitat in the basin of Loch Alsh outwith the existing SAC boundary.

12.4.3. The Scottish Government has asked Scottish Natural Heritage to prepare a case for re-designation of the SAC. The aim is to simplify the boundary and incorporate the reef habitat that currently lies outside. This will be undertaken with the view to the site being re-designated before the 2018 review of the network. In order to ensure that these habitats do not deteriorate in the intervening period we intend to implement precautionary management measures now.

12.4.4. The Scottish Government does not think that there is a risk of a creel "honeypot" at this site. The static gear fishery is already well established and currently has 6 months of exclusive use. We also do not agree that the management advice for certain components of burrowed mud should be stricter than it currently is. In any event the original proposal would have removed all pressure from the best examples of these found in Loch Duich.

12.4.5. 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, and demersal trawl - throughout the MPA / SAC.
  • The removal of horse mussels will also be prohibited.
  • The current licence condition will be removed after implementation of the new measures.

12.4.6. The measures and their ecological value are shown in appendix 12.


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