The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is calling on fishermen and others to comment on the benefits and difficulties in agreeing areas of sea most important for the fishing industry and the potential of using these areas to develop a spatial marine plan policy.
The project is running through February and March, and will help marine planning to identify ways to best take account of fishing activities.
Ruth Barber, Marine Planner said: “We are keen to work with the industry on how best to take account of fishing activity in future marine plans. A number of marine planning stakeholders have suggested that using a core fishing grounds approach may be beneficial, and we are keen to explore this further to better understand the benefits and challenges that such an approach may present.
“This project will help us do this and we are happy to hear from anyone who wants to get involved. Once we have the findings, we can decide if this approach will be helpful to both fishermen and marine planning work.”
Key challenges to this approach may include how to define core areas, data needs and limitations, differences between inshore and offshore fleets, the potential positive or negative implications of identifying core grounds, the interaction between fishing and other industries, and how the approach might work in practice.
The project is being carried out by ABPmer on behalf of the MMO, and a workshop is scheduled for 24 February in London, with representatives from a diverse range of interests invited.
If you want to get involved, or for more information on the project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the MMO evidence team on 0191 376 2585.
Marine plans will inform a range of marine users, and are currently being developed for the East and South areas, with a total of 11 plans anticipated by 2021.
Reports relating to fishing in the South of England – where plan areas stretch from Folkestone to the River Dart in Devon - have also recently been published by the MMO.
They cover future trends in fishing, the potential for aquaculture and identifying essential fish habitats, and are all available on the MMO website.