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.
Over the last ~15 years, the UK offshore wind industry has seen unprecedented growth and expansion, with increasing financial, political and social support and global recognition of the necessity and economic potential of the renewable energy industry, in particular offshore wind. The shared offshore environment of the marine licensed activities necessitates spatial coexistence, and subsequently can result in impacts to other users of the offshore environment, including commercial fisheries.
The Round 4 seabed leasing in the waters around England and Wales, and the ScotWind seabed leasing round in the waters around Scotland bring a definitive future increase in the number of offshore wind projects over the next 5 to 10 years (The Crown Estate, 2019; Crown Estate Scotland, 2020). With the planned increase in developments and changes to design of projects (such as floating infrastructure, larger and more powerful turbines) which may be present in Scotland's waters, guidance on the approach and methods for assessing impacts on commercial fisheries is necessary to ensure that the potential adverse effects are accurately and consistently identified and assessed during the EIA process. This need for guidance has been highlighted as a priority evidence gap in the Scottish Marine Energy Research (ScotMER) fish and fisheries evidence map (Brown and May Marine, 2021; ABPmer 2017; Marine Scotland, 2018).
The cultural and economic importance of the commercial fishing industry is recognised by Scotland's National Marine Plan, together with the need to facilitate coexistence between development sectors and activities within the Scottish Marine area (Scottish Government, 2015). As such, commercial fisheries are identified as a key receptor and stakeholder, which will require robust consideration during the EIAs that will be conducted to facilitate future marine developments.
Although there is existing research and development of methodologies for the assessment of impacts to commercial fisheries (e.g. Chollett et al., 2017; Bastardie et al., 2015; ABPmer, 2017 and references therein), no standardised methodology which is suitable for consistent application in EIAs has been developed for the assessment of the potential impact of displacement of commercial fishing activity, as a result of offshore developments and other licensed activities. This impact pathway has been consistently raised as a concern by commercial fisheries stakeholders, from the beginning of the offshore wind leasing rounds, and recognised by Scottish Government through the ScotMER evidence map (Brown and May Marine, 2021; ABPmer 2017; Marine Scotland, 2018).
This Literature Review and the associated Good Practice Guidance has been commissioned by Marine Scotland in response to the ScotMER evidence map programme work and in the context of the feedback from consultees across the fisheries industry, offshore energy and regulatory sectors.
The objective of this Literature Review document is to collate and analyse existing guidance, data, studies and stakeholder feedback relevant to the potential impact of commercial fisheries displacement. This Literature Review will inform clear and accessible guidance for assessing the potential impact of the displacement of fishing activity into other areas, as result of a licensed marine activity.
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