Publication - Minutes

Phase 2 MPA measures and PMF review minutes: Orkney meeting one - 8 January 2020

Published: 6 Oct 2021
Date of meeting: 8 Jan 2020
Location: Orkney Fisheries Association offices, Kirkwall, Orkney

Minutes of Marine Scotland's first meeting in Orkney on 8 January 2020 prior to enacting phase 2 Marine Protected Areas (MPA) measures and Priority Marine Features (PMF) review.

Published:
6 Oct 2021
Phase 2 MPA measures and PMF review minutes: Orkney meeting one - 8 January 2020

Attendees and apologies

Attendees:

  • Orkney Fisheries Association (OFA)
  • Marine Scotland
  • local fisher
     

Items and actions

To note - this is Marine Scotland's record of the meeting. It has not been agreed by meeting participants.

General points

Concerns over data; where it came from and sampling methodology, particular questions about sea grass records / presence.

Concerns about lack of granularity in management areas, but more content following explanation of refinement process from MS.

Action:

  • MS to speak to Compliance colleagues to identify how small an area we will be able to effectively regulate

Perception that SNH doesn’t interface with communities when undertaking surveys (as unaware of EMFF surveys in 2019). 

Action:

  • MS feedback to colleagues to encourage newspaper advert/article and/or public meeting in advance of future survey work, to ensure that local fishers are aware of surveys

Suggestion that it is not reasonable to assume all mobile bottom-contacting gear causes equal damage. Example given of EnviroDredge, which uses a spring system and therefore cause significantly less damage to the seabed. This also reduces capture of stones, which results in less damage to nets and better quality scallops. It also uses less fuel to run due to less drag. These cost more to procure and maintain. 

Action:

  • MS to consider existing research on the impact of different gear types

Concern that recommendations may be coming from people who don’t fully appreciate fishing gear and practices.

Concern that removal of mobile gear fishery may further exacerbate the high effort already going into creeling. Estimates there to be 30,000 creels off the west coast of Orkney, and over 1M around Orkney in total.

It was highlighted that fishers are already largely avoiding areas where PMFs have been identified. 

Would prefer a similar regulating order as operating in Shetland, where only smaller vessels are allowed in managed areas (e.g. 5 aside dredges only, eliminating vessels >12m)

Discussion about Orkney PMF management areas

Widewall Bay

Propose to cut the area in half (diagonal from upper east of bay), as fishers don’t enter the inner bay. Boats come into bay during periods of bad weather to shelter overnight and drop dredges as an anchor; the amendment would allow them to continue to do this.

Hoy Sound to South Walls (East)

Concerned generally by this area. High proportion of income (50-60%) comes from Queen scallops fished here, particularly off northern end of Cava. 

Upon reviewing plotter and PMF data, content that there is little overlap at South end with proposed amended boundary (though could perhaps make it tighter to Cava). 

Hoy Sound to South Walls (West)

It was highlighted that the maerl record in middle was old (1990s) and its current validity was questioned; a line was suggested through middle of the site to separate maerl to the north. There was fishing effort NE of wreck (N. of S. point in image) but it didn’t appear to go over PMFs on record. 

Copinsay

The meeting was content if the boundary could be focused on the horse mussel bed to the east of the island.

Orkney Sounds and Firth (South)

There were discrete areas of fishing activity within proposed management zone; these have been sketched onto a map and would like to see them opened up to fishing as they don’t appear to cover any known records. 

Action:

  • MS to speak to Compliance colleagues to investigate whether more complicated areas can be designated

Papa Westray

Doesn’t fish here.

Action point summary

  • MS to speak to Compliance colleagues to identify how small an area we will be able to effectively regulate
  • MS feedback to colleagues to encourage newspaper advert/article and/or public meeting in advance of future survey work, to ensure that local fishers are aware of surveys
  • MS to consider existing research on the impact of different gear types
  • MS to speak to Compliance colleagues to investigate more complicated areas can be designated