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.

3 Relevant Marine Scotland and Scottish Government guidance and plans

There are several guidance documents, plans and strategies which are relevant to marine spatial planning, MRE developments, fisheries management and fishing activity displacement.

The guidance which is of relevance for activities within Scottish waters includes but may not be limited to those listed in Table 3.1.

Table 3.1 Marine Scotland and Scottish Government plans and guidance
Guidance/Plan Description
Offshore Wind and Marine Spatial Planning Policy
Scottish Government (2015) National Marine Plan[5] Scotland's National Marine Plan provides a planning framework for the implementation of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. The plan sets out objectives and policies for protecting and enhancing marine environments and promoting marine industries, including commercial fisheries. Several of the general policies are relevant to co-existence in the marine environment such as consideration of the potential impact of fisheries displacement from various marine developments as part of the marine spatial planning decision making process (Fisheries 2 policy). Co-existence should also be considered in terms of all activities within the marine space.
Scottish Government (2020a) Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy The Sectoral Marine Plan identifies sustainable options for future commercial-scale offshore wind development as part of the Crown Estate Scotland (CES) ScotWind leasing round. The selected Plan Options (POs) were chosen with the intention of minimizing adverse impacts to marine receptors, including other sea users. The POs were refined and selected through an iterative process, with stakeholder feedback sought at each iteration of the selection process alongside evidence for social, environmental and economic factors. The potential impact to the commercial fishing industry has been a key factor in the selection of the POs. For instance, Draft Plan Option (DPO) NE5 was removed as a PO due to the potential for cumulative impacts on the fishing sector. Several of the other PO areas were modified to avoid areas of highest fishing activity, as highlighted by the fishing sector. The Sectoral Marine Plan provides indicative sensitive environmental receptors and requires that offshore wind farm (OWF) consent applications consider potential impacts on commercial fisheries within the EIA process, which is a major consenting risk for offshore wind developments.
Marine Scotland (2018; 2021) ScotMER Evidence Maps Marine Scotland established the ScotMER programme to identify and address knowledge gaps, improve understanding and identify potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of MRE developments. There are 7 specialist research groups, including the Fish and Fisheries Specialist Receptor Group which is tasked with identifying the key topics relating to fish and commercial fisheries where knowledge gaps exist, their priority and areas of recommended research. 'Accurate and validated method to predict fisheries displacement levels and locations' was identified as a knowledge gap, and this is of high priority for Scallop dredge fishery and Nephrops fishery.
Scottish Government (2020b) Offshore Wind Energy in Scottish Waters - Regional Locational Guidance The Regional Location Guidance supports Scotland's Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind. The document provides a baseline description of the environmental conditions present within Scottish waters, with a focus on the Plan Options (POs) being offered for offshore wind developments as part of the ScotWind leasing round. The document describes fishing activity within the east, northeast, west and north regions of Scottish waters. This highlights the distribution of fishing activity for different vessel sizes and methods. Extensive consultation was carried out to inform this guidance, providing a national-scale insight into stakeholder concerns.
Scottish Government (2020c) Social and Economic Impact Assessment Report – Final This document supports Scotland's Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind and identifies the potential economic and social effects of developments within the proposed POs. This assessment assumed that fishing activities would not be displaced from the developments within the POs, but instead that all grounds were lost. Hence, the economic impact of displacement was not quantified. The social impact was noted as potentially being increased costs as a result of increased steaming times and impacts associated with increased competition and conflict.
Fisheries Management/Guidance
Marine Scotland (2020a) Draft Fisheries Management and Mitigation Strategy ("FMMS") Guidance Document This draft guidance sets out key topics which need to be provided within a FMMS, which is a requirement under some Marine Licenses and Section 36 consents. The guidance recommends that developers align for the most part with the FLOWW (2014, 2015) guidance, and recommends procedures such as dropped objects, fishing gear snags/damages and linkages with other relevant consent plans such as Navigational Safety Plans.
Scottish Government (2020d) Scotland's Fisheries Management Strategy 2020 – 2030 This document sets out the management approach for sea fisheries from 2020 - 2030, with the aim of achieving developing a management approach which aims to inform a balance of potential marine environmental and socio-economic outcomes. The approach of the management strategy aims to align with the Scottish National Marine Plan, and among other areas of focus, and provides potential approaches to aid coexistence between the fishing industry and other marine users. Improvements for monitoring of fishing activity include plans to implement Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) (pelagic and scallop fisheries) and funding for advancements in fishing gear technologies.
Marine Scotland (2015) Inshore Fisheries Strategy This strategy outlines the key strategies for Marine Scotland's inshore fisheries management and focusses on improving fisheries evidence-base, streamlining fisheries governance and embedding inshore fisheries management into wider marine planning. The aims of this strategy include implementing an inshore vessel monitoring system to improve the evidence-base for decision making processes and baseline data.
Marine Scotland (2012) Management of Scottish Inshore Fisheries – Assessing the Options for Change This report assessed the impacts of restriction on the use of mobile gear in Scottish waters between 0-1 Nautical Miles (NM) and 0-3 NM from the coast. One of the aspects that this report assessed was the potential implications of these restrictions on gear conflict, and the authors used a modelling approach in their assessment. The document also provides background information on gear conflict. For the study, a questionnaire survey was conducted to identify gear conflict locations and frequency. The questionnaire revealed that conflict occurs between static gear operators and static and mobile operators, but rarely between mobile gear operators.

3.1 Existing guidance for fisheries displacement assessments

Existing guidance documents which are relevant to fisheries displacement assessments are listed in Table 3.2.

Table 3.2 Existing guidance for assessments of commercial fisheries displacement
Guidance Description
Displacement of fishing effort from Marine Protected Areas (ABPmer, 2017) The guidance includes a detailed Literature Review on displacement of fishing effort from MPAs and other closed areas as well as a protocol for assessing displacement of fishing effort as part of the impact assessment for MPAs.
Best Practice Guidance for Fishing Industry Financial and Economic Impact Assessments (Seafish and UKFEN, 2012) This document provides best practice guidance for conducting commercial fisheries impact assessments in relation to loss of, or restricted access to, fishing grounds. The guidance note specifically considers the implications of displacement and includes a list of displacement impacts which should be considered within an impact assessment. An approach for assessing vulnerability to displacement is also provided and as well as an approach for assessing displacement impacts and the key assumptions which may have to be made as part of the assessment.
Best Practice Guidance for Offshore Renewables Developments: Recommendations for Fisheries Liaison (FLOWW, 2014)[6] This guidance document was produced collaboratively by the commercial fisheries, offshore energy and regulatory bodies (the FLOWW committee) to promote co-existence between the MRE industry and the fishing industry. Key topics include the lines of communication between and offshore development and the fishing industry, recommended approaches for maximizing engagement and guidance on evidence-based mitigation measures
Best Practice Guidance for Offshore Renewables Developments: Recommendations for Fisheries Disruption Settlements and Community Funds (FLOWW, 2015)[6] This guidance sets out guiding principles for MRE developers to address any residual impacts to the fishing sector which remain following the application of other mitigation measures and fisheries liaison. The guidance provides important factors which should be considered and planned for by both parties and key information which may be required to develop an evidence based mitigation such as individual cooperation payments to a static gear operator who is asked to relocate their gear prior to construction. Effective and regular communication from the (Company) Fisheries Liaison Officer ((C)FLO) is also recommended.
Options and Opportunities for marine fisheries mitigation associated with windfarms (Blythe-Skyrme, 2010) This guidance document was produced to identify options for mitigation for impacts of OWFs on commercial fisheries. The document presents an overview of the UK fishing industry, interactions between the fishing industry and offshore wind and appraises different mitigation options available to developers. Several of these mitigation options are aimed at reducing the potential loss of access of grounds or compensating for this impact.
International Cable Protection Committee - Fishing and Submarine Cables - Working Together (IPCP, 2009) This document provides guidance to fishermen on how to avoid snagging cables and what to do if this does occur. It also provides details on cable systems and technical specifications, the potential for cables to become exposed, how different fishing methods can damage cables, the dangers of snagging cables and potential measures to reduce these if snagging does happen and also how to reduce the potential for snagging in the first instance.



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