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
7. East Mingulay SAC

236 page PDF

11.9 MB

7. East Mingulay SAC

7.1. Introduction

7.1.1. This area was designated as a SAC for its reefs. The consultation presented two possible management approaches:

  • Approach 1 would prohibit the use of any demersal fishing gear on a zonal basis, and apply a vessel capacity restriction of 100 Gross Registered Tonnage ( GRT) for access to the SAC. This is, at present, the Scottish Government's preferred approach 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.
  • Approach 2 would prohibit the use of demersal mobile gears throughout the SAC, and any demersal static fishing gear on a zonal basis.

7.2. We Asked

7.2.1. The consultation asked: 'Do you support the preferred approach (number 1) for managing this protected area?' If you didn't a follow-up question asked if you supported the other approach.

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

7.3. You Said

7.3.1. Nearly twice as many respondents answered 'no' as answered 'yes' with respect to supporting the preferred approach. Table 7.1 summarises the responses received.

7.3.2. Opposition came from a number of respondent groupings and, in particular, from environment /conservation and static fishing respondents.

Table 7.1: East Mingulay SAC - Support for preferred management approach

Yes

No

Other comments

No reply

Individuals (133)

3

5

-

125

Environment / Conservation (17)

1

8

1

7

Inshore Fisheries Group ( IFG) (3)

1

-

-

2

Industry / Transport (6)

-

-

-

6

Mobile fishing (8)

4

-

-

4

Local authority (3)

1

-

-

2

Local group (7)

-

2

-

5

Recreation / Tourism (13)

1

2

-

10

Static fishing (4)

-

3

1

-

Other (2)

-

1

-

1

Total (196)

11

21

2

162

7.3.3. An environment /conservation organisation 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. The static fishing respondent simply stated: "we support proportionate conservation measures with minimum impact on commercial fisheries".

7.3.4. Nine respondents who answered 'no' went on to make additional comments; six of these were environment /conservation organisations who predominantly commented on the need for a more precautionary approach, as did one individual and one static fishing respondent.

7.3.5. The environment /conservation organisation that commented without explicitly answering 'yes' or 'no' felt that "Approach 1 may be the minimum level of management required to meet the conservation objectives of this site". This respondent added that "more research is required to better understand the effects of suspended sediment caused by mobile demersal gear on the qualifying feature and, depending on that information, management approaches be altered accordingly." In addition, the respondent expressed concern that the implementation of zonal management could lead to an increase in fishing activity in the parts of the SAC where mobile demersal gear is permitted. They also noted: "It is important for the integrity of the SAC, and a legal obligation, that an Appropriate Assessment ( AA) be completed to assess the impacts of fishing activity on the reef. We have been unable to find any record of an AA being carried out in any of the documents relating to East Mingulay on SNH's website".

7.3.6. The ninth respondent that answered 'no' was a local group that expressed outright opposition for the designation of East Mingulay SAC for a variety of reasons. These included damage to the local economy due to fishing restrictions, imposition on the management of local resources by conservation organisations, a perception of an undemocratic and unaccountable process and that this site was not required in order to satisfy a 2004 EU shortfall in SAC's designated for reefs. The respondent added that "the Mingulay cold water coral's importance was misleadingly described as being unique in "inshore" or "territorial" waters. EU requirements for marine SAC's make no distinction between sites found in offshore or inshore waters".

7.3.7. Other specific points made in the additional commentary from those who answered 'no' included:

  • Concern regarding potential secondary effects of trawling around the reef and potential accidental damage by gear snagging.
  • Concern regarding what might be deemed bias in favour of the commercial fishing sector.

7.3.8. Seven respondents who answered 'yes' offered additional comments, predominantly supporting the use of zonal activity for mobile fishing in order to balance conservation and socio-economic needs and impacts. One mobile fishing respondent questioned why a 100GRT limit was proposed rather than 150GRT, which the respondent felt would better reflect the economic needs of the fishing fleet in the area. Two other mobile fishing respondents questioned the need for any upper limit.

7.3.9. Those who did not support the preferred option were asked: 'Do you support the other approach?' and 18 of the 21 respondents who had not supported Approach 1 answered 'yes' they supported the alternative approach. Many of these went on to comment that they preferred an outright ban on all mobile fishing in the interests of greater protection.

7.3.10. The three respondents that answered 'no' and did not support either approach were an individual who offered no additional comment. A local group whose key objections are detailed at para 4.6 above, and an environment /conservation respondent suggesting a third option of 'no take' throughout the SAC.

7.3.11. Finally, eleven respondents answered 'no' in response to whether they agreed with the economic, social, and environmental assessments of the impact of the management approaches and nine respondents answered 'yes'.

7.3.12. The eleven respondents that answered 'no' comprised six environment /conservation organisations, two individuals, one mobile and one static fishing respondent and one local group.

7.3.13. The main theme in additional comments from those who answered 'no', and particularly from environment /conservation organisations, was that the assessment has failed to consider fully the benefits that the proposed measures may bring. A local group however commented to the contrary, suggesting that too much emphasis was placed on counting intangible benefits and not enough on the direct local economic and employment impacts.

7.3.14. A mobile fishing respondent who answered 'no', as well as two others who commented without giving a 'yes' or 'no' answer, referred to a lack of time to consider the environmental report. Two of these respondents 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.

7.3.15. The nine respondents who answered 'yes' comprised four individuals, one local group, one local authority, one IFG, one mobile fishing and one static fishing respondent. Those who commented further generally reiterated their agreement with the economic, social and environmental assessments of the impact of the management approaches.

7.3.16. An academic /scientific respondent made comments without specifically answering either 'yes' or 'no' and emphasised the importance of monitoring and research on an ongoing basis, adding "The general adaptive management approach being taken, of zonal controls within protected areas and minimal buffer zones around protected habitats, will require extensive monitoring to be effective". The same respondent commented:

"The Business and Regulatory Impact Assessments ( BRIA) concentrates on the economic impact of lost fishing activity, producing a worst case scenario where all restricted activity is lost rather than displaced. The environmental assessment focusses on the possible impact on surrounding areas of displaced fishing activity. There is no assessment of the levels of risk of impact on the reef habitat associated with the different levels of protection under approaches 1 and 2. It is important to carry out the work recommended on suspended particulates and buffer zones, particularly if approach number 1 is chosen. The additional financial costs involved in providing adequate monitoring and assessment of buffer zones for approach number 1 could easily outweigh the potential savings of reducing displaced fishing activity, but this discussion is absent from the economic assessment."

7.3.17. An environmental /conservation organisation that answered neither 'yes' nor 'no' highlighted concerns about the secondary effects of trawling on and around the reef and potential accidental damage by gear snagging. This respondent referenced research suggesting the Mingulay reefs present an important shallow water refuge from acidification, potentially making them the most valuable Lophelia reefs in the EU. The respondent also quoted from an SNH commissioned designation report that identified a need for more work regarding the effectiveness of the buffer zone in "preventing fine grained sediments re-suspended by trawling from smothering living reef habitat". This respondent reiterated their support for Approach 2 and added that there should be careful regulation to ensure that creeling is carried out at sustainable levels within the designated zones. They also identified an opportunity for further research on the impacts of creels on seabed habitats within the fishing zones to ensure action can be taken if damage by creels to the reef is observed.

7.3.18. A static fishing respondent who answered 'no' and an individual who answered 'yes' both made comments in support of creeling activity.

7.4. We Did

7.4.1. Concerns about Appropriate Assessments and creel fishing have been addressed in the broad issues section.

7.4.2. The Scottish Government has concluded that the ecological value of the East Mingulay SAC needs to be maintained. To achieve this the risk to the Lophelia Pertusa reefs from demersal mobile fishing gear needs to be minimised. The main risk is direct impact from fishing gear but there are also secondary risks from sedimentation.

7.4.3. Therefore we have concluded that exclusion of demersal mobile fishing gear from the whole SAC is the best way to minimise those risks.

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

A site wide prohibition on the use of suction dredge, mechanical dredge, demersal trawl, and beam trawl.

In addition, the contiguous area around the Lophelia reefs will also prohibit the use of any demersal static fishing gears.

7.4.5. The measures and their ecological value are shown in appendix 7.


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