Information

Consultation on the Fair Isle Demonstration and Research MPA Proposal

The first Demonstration and Research MPA proposal has been developed by the Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative (FIMETI) on behalf of all residents of Fair Isle for Fair Isle.


Overview of Socioeconomics Costs and Benefits

Notwithstanding uncertainties about the precise management measures, the proposal is only considered likely to give rise to minor costs for affected groups given the low level of use of the waters immediately surrounding Fair Isle. By the same token only small increases to the level of ecosystem service provision or use are expected.

The commercial fisheries sector may potentially experience cost impacts depending on the nature of possible future management measures. As the management measures are not known, it is not possible to quantify any potential economic impacts or consequential social impacts, although such impacts are expected to be minor as the current level of fishing activity is low, and virtually non-existent in the SPA area.

Table 1 - Total volume and value of landings, and active vessels, in the proposed D&R MPA, over-15m vessels (annual average, 2009-13; 2013 prices)

Total value (£) 261,823.34
Total shellfish value 886.38
Total demersal value 34,374.85
Total pelagic value 226,562.10
Total weight (t) 650.813
Total no. vessels fishing 31
No. of vessels fishing 3 or more years 1

Table 1 shows the total volume and value of over-15m vessels landings over 5 years in the boundary. There are no figures available for under-15m vessels, but it is expected this is between £4,000-40,000 over the 5 years. It does not represent the estimated impact of the MPA, as management measures have yet to be decided in discussion with the fishing industry, therefore this table provides an indication of the current value only. Nonetheless it is expected that any measures are likely to have a minimal impact on the fishing industry, and would likely only apply to sandeel fishing. This would only apply to UK based vessels as non- UK vessels are prohibited from fishing within the 6nm limit into which this proposal falls

No management measures are proposed for ports and harbours, commercial shipping, recreational boating, water sports or tourism and therefore no additional costs will be experienced by these sectors.

Costs to government

It is not envisaged that there will any substantial costs to the public sector as a result of the proposed designation and management for the MPA. Marine Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Shetland Islands Council are expected to participate in the Steering Committee but participation is considered to be part of normal duties. The proposed site monitoring will, for the most part, be a continuation of current activities and the dissemination will be mainly through existing channels. Where additional monitoring is carried out this is likely to be on a voluntary basis by local stakeholders.

Benefits

A range of benefits will potentially derive from the designation including:

  • Increased recreation/tourism;
  • Research and education; and
  • Non-use value of natural environment.

While figures that relate only to Fair Isle are not available, it is clear recreation and tourism, that comes in a large part from seabird and wildlife related activities and services, is essential to the sustainability of the community on Fair Isle.

Shetland attracted 64,655 overnight/day visitors in 2012/2013, with 41% being holiday visitors, 41% business visitors and 18% were visiting friends and families. The total spend was £16 million, where holiday makers spent 42% of the total, business visitors 46% with those visiting friends and families spending 12%. The numbers of visitors excluded cruise ship passengers, with cruise visits showing a steady increase from 1988 with 20 arrivals to Lerwick rising to 52 in 2012. There had been a slight decline to 39 visits in 2013 (Shetland Island Council, 2013).

Tourism has been identified as having the greatest potential for growth within the service sector upon which Shetland is increasingly reliant (Shetland Island Council & NAFC, 2013), and increasingly Fair Isle is becoming a significant tourism destination. The Isle is served by a ferry service run by Shetland Islands Council, and a regular plane service. The number of bed nights occupied annually by visitors to Fair Isle Bird Observatory ( FIBO) alone has steadily increased year on year and now exceeds 3,000. In addition there is a growing of interest in specialist holidays such as photography courses being run at the FIBO.

The Isle is served by a ferry service run by Shetland Islands Council, and a regular plane service. The number of bed nights occupied annually by visitors to Fair Isle Bird Observatory ( FIBO) alone has steadily increased year on year and now exceeds 3,000. In addition there is a growing of interest in specialist holidays such as photography courses being run at the FIBO.

A number of crofts on the island also provide accommodation and the community gains important income (by taxi driving, sale of knitwear, craft and food, etc.) from stay-over visitors together with those from cruise ships and yachts that visit the island every summer. During the summer months Fair Isle is said to be the second busiest port in Shetland in terms of passenger boat movements. Diving is also a main recreational attraction for both staying visitors and day boats, which come from Shetland and Orkney.

As noted Fair Isle attracts and offers a number of tourism opportunities, however it has not been not possible to obtain the cost benefits of these activities.

We invite views on the socioeconomic impact assessment undertaken by ABPmer on the possible estimated costs and benefits of the proposal. This is in relation to Question 4 of the formal consultation.

The full details of the socioeconomic assessment can be found in the ABPmer report: Assessment of the Fair Isle Third Party Demonstration and Research MPA Proposal - Criteria and Socio-economic Final Report [10]

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