Assessing fisheries displacement by other licensed marine activities: good practice guidance - literature review

This project developed ‘Good Practice Guidance for Assessing Fisheries Displacement’ through a detailed literature review and consultation with the ScotMER Fish and Fisheries Receptor Group (FFSRG), commercial fisheries industry, offshore energy and regulatory sectors.

9 Knowledge gap analysis

Several knowledge gaps were identified during the production of the Literature Review and associated Good Practice Guidance. Although some knowledge gaps were identified by the project team, this was a key focus area for stakeholder consultation. The knowledge gaps are provided in Table 9.1. In cases where a knowledge gap relates to an existing knowledge gap presented in the ScotMER evidence map, this is identified in the table.

Table 9.1 Knowledge Gaps and Recommendations
Knowledge gap Recommendation ScotMER evidence map ID (if appropriate)
Monitoring of fishing activity in operational wind farms
  • Study and monitoring of fishing activities at operational OWFs to understand displacement effects and the changes in fishing activities within and around the wind farm.
  • Development of Good Practice Guidance for pre and post construction commercial fisheries monitoring by OWF developers (i.e. in line with the requirements of the Project Environmental Monitoring Plan as set out in s.36 consent conditions).The GPG could delineate the benefits and limitation of monitoring commercially fished species vs commercial fishing activity. Any results should be caveated to assume that several factors may be influencing fishing activity such as weather, stock, behaviour and quota/regulations.
Statutory and non-statutory guidance
  • Production of guidance for statutory and non-statutory consultees reviewing consent applications on advice and guidance to provide to developers or EIA practitioners with respect to commercial fisheries displacement.
Commercial fisheries data – accuracy, availability and accessibility
  • Improving spatial data for <10 m vessels.
  • Incorporating temporal variation by including monthly variation in spatial datasets.
  • Reviewing historic spatial data to understand longer-term patterns in fishing activity (e.g. to understand nomadic fishing patterns).
  • Improving accessibility to commercial fisheries data, especially transboundary data.
Impact of fisheries displacement
  • Study and monitoring to understand the impact of fisheries displacement on the marine environment (e.g. fish stocks, benthic environment). This study could also consider the impact of a licensed marine activity to the benthic environment and fish biology, in the levels of fishing effort before and after construction.
  • Study and monitoring to understand the socio-economic implications of fisheries displacement resulting from other licensed marine activities. A socio-economic impact assessment guidance is being produced as part of the ScotMER evidence map work. This guidance will not be specific to fisheries displacement, however, it may link to this work.
Conflict and competition
  • Study and monitoring to understand conflict and competition as a result of displacement from other licensed marine activities. This could investigate the conflict within and between fishing methods, and particularly the conflict between mobile and static gear
  • Monitoring the relocation of static gear during surveys or construction to understand where the gear is being relocated to, the proportion which is relocated vs brought to shore and the potential for conflict or further displacement.
Availability of fishing grounds
  • Study investigating the key factors which influence the availability of fishing grounds for key fishing fleets, considering other licensed marine activities (e.g. renewables, aquaculture), as well as the range, distribution and seasonality of key target species. This could also include research to identify existing and alternative fishing grounds, based on environmental factors and requirements for the fishing fleets.
Potential for co-existence between commercial fisheries and other licensed marine activities
  • Study to understand gear configurations, minimum operating requirements and maximum seabed penetration depths for fishing activities. This study could focus on the fishing methods which have been identified as primary areas of research, but this could be expanded to include all typical fishing methods operated within the UK. This study could also discuss the design parameters of other licensed marine activities to understand potential for co-existence and compare the compatibilities of other licensed marine activities with commercial fisheries. This could be informed through consultation, compatibility studies and gear trials.
  • Research into the health and safety risks of fishing within an offshore windfarm or cable with suggestions for potential mitigation measures to reduce these risks. This study could be made accessible to fishermen.
  • Investigation and review of the potential for MRE developments to act as a fisheries management measure (e.g. spill-over effects and improved stocks).
  • Production of a Good Practice Guidance for mitigation measures through project design which could enable or facilitate co-existence. This could also include the identification of survey or installation strategies which minimise displacement.
  • Investigating the barriers to fishing returning to OWF. This could also include research and guidance on the management of liabilities for fishing within wind farms, and research into various methods for monitoring the condition of subsea cables and how to make this information most useful for fishing vessel operators.
  • Wider review of the potential for co-existence of all sectors included within the National Marine Plan. This could include a consideration of measures which could improve coexistence across the marine space.
  • Integration of commercial fisheries consultation in the planning and programming of surveys and project activities, and development of strategies for coexistence between the two industries to minimize cooperation periods and avoid coinciding with other project activities (cumulative impact during site investigation surveys for example).
FF.02, FF.05 and FF.14
EIA methodology
  • Review of Commercial Fisheries EIA methodology which culminates in the production of a Good Practice Guidance which includes a step-by-step process for conducting a commercial fisheries impact assessment. This should include suggestions for improving the cumulative impact assessment methodology to incorporate impacts from other sectors which impact commercial fisheries (e.g. conservation areas, fishing policy).
  • Research into the potential displacement impacts from aquaculture and guidance for assessing displacement from aquaculture, with consideration of the specific licensing and permitting processes.
Stakeholder engagement
  • Production of a Good Practice Guidance for consultation carried out to inform commercial fisheries impact assessments (all potential impacts, not just displacement). Key areas are making this process more efficient, ensuring representation for all potentially impacted individuals, early identification of a Fisheries Industry Representative (FIR) and Fisheries Liaison Officer FLO) and processes for effective communication. This would align with the updated FLOWW guidelines.



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