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.

1 Introduction

The displacement of fishing activity into other areas as a result of another marine activity has been a concern of fisheries stakeholders, regulators and conservation organisations for many years. There is a paucity of research into the impact of displacement on the commercial fishing sector itself, and there is no standardised methodology which is easily applied to offshore impact assessments.

The UK and Scottish governments have established clear goals for the expansion of renewable energy production, including a significant increase in offshore wind which has led to a considerable increase in the areas of seabed available to lease. There has been a concurrent increase in the number of designated and potential Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and No Take Zones[4] in British waters (e.g. NatureScot, 2021; JNCC, 2021). This increase in Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) projects, along with technology advancements in offshore infrastructure reducing limitations on developments such as water depth, have highlighted the need for better understanding of the impacts of displacement of commercial fishing activity for commercial fisheries stakeholders.

The scope of this report is to review available information and studies which are relevant to displacement of fishing activity to better understand displacement and the interacting factors which may cause or be caused by it, and identify the main constraints on developing a methodology for the assessment of fisheries displacement within Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). This work has been commissioned with the objective of producing a Good Practice Guidance document which is accessible and concise, to help clarify the assessment process for stakeholders, regulators and developers.



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