WREN - Wester Ross Environment Network
 

Scottish Government proposes to exclude scallop dredgers from the whole of the Wester Ross MPA

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Yesterday (11th June 2015), the Scottish Government published draft management measures for the Wester Ross MPA and other inshore MPAs elsewhere in Scotland.

The proposed measures include a ban on scallop dredging throughout the Wester Ross Marine Protected Area, something that many local residents have campaigned for over many years.

The proposed measures are far more ambitious than those presented at the consultation stage, and demonstrate the Scottish Government’s commitment to safeguarding the seas around Wester Ross for present and future generations.

The map presented in Appendix 21 of Marine Scotland’s Consultation on the management of Inshore Special Areas of Conservation and Marine Protected Areas report, on page 219 http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0047/00479038.pdf provides a summary of proposed measures (please click on picture to right to view).

The Draft Marine Conservation Order for the Wester Ross MPA can be found via links at:

www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/marine-environment/mpanetwork/MPAMGT/protectedareasmgt/conservationorders

Scottish Ministers invite written representations from any party on these orders by no later than 23:59 on 12 July 2015.

Please send your representation by email to Marine_Conservation@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

or by post to:

Scottish Government

1A South Victoria Quay

Edinburgh

EH6 6QQ

There are many challenges ahead:

1. To ensure that the legislation is implemented and not amended by scallop dredging interests! So further strong responses will be required by 12th July 2015.

2. To ensure that the legislation can be enforced. That may require support of many local sea users including other fishermen and those who live around the MPA.

3. To develop sustainable fisheries within the areas from which dredgers are to be excluded. Some sort of permit system to formalise ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ regarding who fishes where could help to prevent a Loch Torridon Nephrops fishery type situation of too many creelers converging in on the area; this will need a fair bit of discussion. In the past scallops were also over-dive-harvested from some areas, so the Several Order system (c. ‘Scot-Hatch Ltd’) may be one way to ensure that that does not happen in the future, and jobs can be secured.

4. To support and encourage youngsters who seek to develop sustainable livelihoods in the area that the new opportunities may provide.  

5. To set up some small voluntary ‘no take’ zones? At present there is still every opportunity for overharvesting of lobsters and some other shellfish from the MPA. I’d select places where recreational divers and snorkelers can visit. These places could help to safeguard a few broodstock (big lobsters which produce eggs); again discussion amongst fishermen would be required. If well designed these could boost overall catches of shellfish from the area.

6. To help to monitor the MPA. There are many things to learn about. Looks like an area where herring may have spawned to east of Greenstone Point will no longer be dredged: will spawning herring make a comeback in the area?

7. To encourage local people to help with monitoring . . . and to develop ideas for restoration projects.

8. To extend more sensible measures for managing the seas to other areas around Wester Ross and elsewhere in Scotland . . .

 

Further information can be found as follows:

A press release (issued on 11th June 2015) can be found here;

http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Progress-for-MPA-network-19e9.aspx

The report can be found here;

http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/marine-environment/mpanetwork/MPAMGT/protectedareasmgt

This is a temporary publication and a full HTML version is to follow.

WREN would like to thank the following organisations for their support:
Scottish Natural Heritage
The European Agriculture fund for Rural Development. Europe investing in rural areas
Leader
RSPB
The Highland Council
The Scottish Government

Tom Forrest (Chairman) chair@wr-en.co.uk

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