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  1. #61
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    Marine protected areas to be set up around Scottish coastline

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-28464123

    A network of 30 marine protected areas is to be established around Scotland's coastline to protect marine species and their habitats.

    The Scottish government is also considering the creation of 14 special protection areas for seabirds.

    Further plans would include four new areas for the protection of basking sharks, whales and dolphins.

    One site, the North East Faroe Shetland Channel, is estimated to be the largest marine protected area in the EU.

    Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said the plans would "enhance our marine environment so that it remains a prized asset for future generations."

    He added: "Our waters support a huge diversity of marine life and habitats, with around 6,500 species of plants and animals and are among the richest in Europe for marine mammals.

    "Many of these sites will provide protections for our seabirds like the black guillemot and sandeels which provide a vital food source."
    'Right decision'

    RSPB Scotland director Stuart Housden welcomed the plans.

    He said: "RSPB Scotland and its supporters have been campaigning for better protection for seabirds for over a decade.

    "We regard the 14 draft SPAs announced today as an important first step towards achieving this."

    Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, said ministers had made "the right decision for our seas and the many wonderful species and habitats that live in them."

    But Shetland MSP Tavish Scott was critical of the government's timing of the roll out - and claimed it was discourteous to local fishermen.

    He said: "The government certainly hasn't been shy with its major announcements in the past.

    "And an announcement of this magnitude, which will have a profound impact on Scotland's fishermen, could and should have been made either before the Commonwealth Games started or postponed until afterwards."

    Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, said: "A significant area of the seas around our coasts are now protected, and we firmly believe that rather than falling into the temptation to deliver even more MPAs, there now needs to be a period of reflection and assessment to see how effective this current designation is in delivering overall ecosystem benefits and the impact they may have on our fishing fleets."

  2. #62
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    http://www.sff.co.uk/node/1042

    Scottish Fishermen Introduce Voluntary Closures for sites in new Marine Protected Areas

    24 July 2014

    The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and constituent associations have put in place voluntary protection measures for 11 specific sites within the newly designated MPA’s of;

    South Arran
    Upper Loch Fyne and Loch Goyle
    Wester Ross

    This is in recognition of the importance of protecting vulnerable marine ecosystems where there is clear evidence that the conservation objectives for specific features may be compromised by continued activity. The fishing industry will continue to fully engage in developing appropriate management measures for all MPA’s but remind that MPA management plans should not be seen by stakeholders as a means to resolve non nature conservation issues.

  3. #63
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  4. #64
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    Scottish fishermen call for common sense approach to Marine Protected Area consultation

    http://www.fishingforthetruth.co.uk/...-consultation/

    Posted on November 10, 2014 by fishing4thetruth in Environment, General News, Sustainability

    With the consultation on the management of 11 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Scotland set to be launched by the Scottish Government tomorrow (11 November), the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) is calling for a commonsense approach that achieves the twin aims of sustainable fishing and marine conservation.

    The SFF says that the guidelines as set out by Marine Scotland for the management of MPAs is very clear with a focus on the need to protect vulnerable marine features whilst at the same time allowing the continuation of sustainable fishing practices. The consultation will also include the management arrangements for nine Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).

    Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF, said: “It is important that there is goodwill and co-operation from all parties in the new consultation process on MPA management that adheres to the underlying principles of these guidelines.

    “The key criteria for the fishing industry in the designation of MPAs were that the process needed to be both evidential and proportional, and exactly the same principle is required for their management – as is laid out in Marine Scotland’s own policy and guidance.

    “At the core of this process is the agreed protection of evidenced features and not any move towards the gratuitous displacement of sustainable fishing just for the sake of it. If that were to happen, it will deliver absolutely no marine conservation benefits and will simply displace fishing into other areas.

    “Throughout the consultation process, there needs to be the recognition that fragile fishing communities need protecting too and that sustainable fishing secures a vital source of food for our nation. These new MPAs come on top of 150 other marine sites that are already afforded protection, which means that over 20% of our seas are protected – a very significant area.”

  5. #65
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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/scottish-n...-launched.html

    MPA consultation launched

    A PUBLIC consultation has been launched in a bid to refine management proposals for 11 recently-designated Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and nine Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) in Scottish inshore waters.

    The sites are home to a range of iconic and rare species including flameshell beds, feather stars and common skate, while reefs and have been identified as having the highest priority for management measures.

    As well as inviting responses on the Scottish Government website, a series of 14 drop-in events are being held around the country as part of the 12-week consultation.

    Scotland's Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Scotland's seas are a vast and vital natural resource and it is our duty to protect and enhance it for future generations.

    "Through our network of MPAs, we have already identified which sites should be protected – now we want to hear views on the new management proposals.

    "Our proposals for these 20 high priority sites have been developed following discussions with the fishing industry, environmental organisations and local authorities and are designed to ensure that the conservation objectives for each site are met, in line with expert advice from Scottish Natural Heritage.

    "This consultation is an opportunity for anyone who is interested in the protection of our seas to express their views about our proposals, and we are keen to hear from as many people as possible."

  6. #66
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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/44-latest-...ignorance.html

    Appeal is a “mishmash of ignorance”

    THE NFFO has labelled a call to re-launch a government campaign to designate 127 marine conservation zones across the UK as a "mishmash of misinformation and ignorance".

    The response follows a letter from Ben Bradshaw - the Labour MP for Exeter - to the Independent, which the NFFO has dismissed as a "campaign that...defies scientific evidence."

    The federation concedes that Bradshaw is correct that in the early 2000s fishermen opposed drastic reductions in the quotas for North Sea cod. However, the NFFO argues, he draws the wrong conclusion. Fishermen argued that a recovery policy based on slashing quotas, would, in a mixed fishery like the North Sea, have only one result: a dramatic increase in discards. The quotas were slashed - by 80% over two years - and the result was that for a number of years for every cod landed one was discarded. The recovery of cod, in spite of this myopic policy, can be attributed to a number of measures. The reduction in the whitefish fleets by two thirds, mainly through a series publicly-funded decommissioning schemes, was the main factor.

    These are a number of reasons, according to the NFFO, why the campaign does not need to be resurrected:

    • Closed areas did not play a significant role in rebuilding the North American cod stocks in the 1980s. He seems to have made this up.
    • Bass stocks have not "collapsed." Poor recruitment and high fishing pressure (both commercial and recreational) have led to a decline in biomass. It is important to introduce balanced and proportionate constraints to reve rse this trend. What this has to do with his central thesis: the immediate reduction of 127 marine conservation zones is hard to discern.
    • West Country boats are not tied-up, as he implies, because of overfishing of skates and rays but because of quotas drastically reduced to meet a short-sighted and arbitrary policy timetable. Ray catches in the Bristol Channel have not varied more than 3% over the last 7 years.
    • The spurious link that he makes between marine conservation zones and climate change is just baffling.

    The Federation continues to say: "This is a disturbing mishmash of ignorance and misleading assertion. It has at its heart the notion that marine conservation zones are a panacea for all the ills of the marine environment, indeed the world, when they are not. Well designed and situated marine protected areas have an important role to play in protecting vulnerable marine habitats and species. They are not a panacea or substitute for a range alternative fisheries management measures which are successfully rebuilding our fish stocks. Since the year 2000, fishing pressure across all the main species groups has been halved and fish stocks are responding, some very dramatically, like North Sea plaice, others more slowly, as we would expect.

    "There is a very good reason why the Government's policy of implementing a network of marine conservation zones, carefully and progressively is the correct approach. It is not in nature conservancy's or in the fishing industry's interest to put marine protected areas in the wrong place. Only if you are content to have tick box exercise, rather than effectively protecting the marine environment could you support the call for a rushed process driven by gesture politics.

    "The signatories to Ben Bradshaw's letter should know better. Indeed many of them do know better but chose to go along with a simplistic campaign because it carries a clear but misleading slogan which they hope the public will support."

  7. #67
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    New areas of coral-like seaweed found off Wester Ross

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...lands-30224978

    New areas of a coral-like seaweed called maerl have been discovered on the seabed off Wester Ross, the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) has said.

    Pink-purple maerl beds offer protection to young cod, scallops and crabs.

    But SWT said the slow growing seaweed was "extremely vulnerable" to disturbance.

    It wants these areas in the Wester Ross Marine Protected Area to be protected from scallop dredging and bottom trawling.

    The Wester Ross MPA was created earlier this year for the protection of seabed habitats such as previously known areas of maerl beds and also kelp forests and flame shell beds.

    Under the terms of the protected area, SWT said maerl beds in the Wester Ross MPA must be managed to allow for their recovery as their condition was known to be poor.

    The Scottish government is consulting on plans to prohibit fishing including scallop dredging and bottom trawling on certain seafloor habitats within the MPA and other protected areas.

    Alex Kinninmonth, SWT living seas policy officer, urged the government to prohibit the fishing.

    "The survey has proved to be very important as current Scottish government proposals will leave many of these newly discovered maerl beds unprotected from damaging fishing methods like dredging.

    "Now that these fragile habitats are on the map they must be included in protection plans.

    "It also serves as a reminder that there are still big gaps in our knowledge of the seabed, and so there is a clear need for a more precautionary approach to protecting it."

    SWT carried out the survey earlier this month in collaboration with Fauna and Flora International and members of the local community.

    Evidence of maerl beds and other seabed habitats was captured using Marine Scotland-funded underwater camera equipment and expertise provided by Scottish Natural Heritage.

    The new beds were identified off the coast of SWT's Ben Mor Coigach Wildlife Reserve, off Isle Martin, and near the Rhue Lighthouse at the mouth of Loch Broom.

    The seaweed had previously been found between Gruinard Bay and Little Loch Broom.

  8. #68
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    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/...4-9893161.html



    Ben Bradshaw's article "Our route to a safer planet begins at sea" (16 November) is a call for the delivery of the full UK network of marine protected areas by 2016. His campaign worries fishermen who face being displaced from their fishing grounds; it should also worry scientists and all those who are genuine about conservation of the marine environment.

    A rushed process is a recipe for failure. Ben Bradshaw's call to arms is an example of the blundering amateur – ex-minister or not – and includes a number of inaccuracies. Closed areas did not play a significant role in rebuilding the North American cod stocks in the 1980s.

    Bass stocks have not "collapsed". Poor recruitment and high fishing pressure (both commercial and recreational) have led to a decline in biomass. It's important to introduce balanced and proportionate constraints to reverse this trend.

    West Country boats are not tied up, as he implies, because of overfishing of skates and rays but because of quotas drastically reduced to meet a short-sighted and arbitrary policy timetable. Measures other than marine conservation zones have been shown to deliver. Scientists at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea confirm that since the year 2000 fishing pressure across all the main species groups in the North Atlantic has been halved and fish stocks are responding – some very dramatically, like North Sea plaice, others more slowly, as we would expect.

    The Government's policy of implementing a network of marine conservation zones, carefully and progressively, is the correct approach. It is in no one's interest to put marine protected areas in the wrong place. Only if you are content to have a tick-box exercise could you support rushing into this.

    Barrie Deas

    Chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, York

  9. #69
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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/scottish-n...-closures.html

    Discovery prompts call for dredging closures

    THE Scottish Wildlife Trust has called for large areas of the Wester Ross Marine Protected Area (MPA) to be closed to scallop dredging and bottom trawling, after the discovery of new maerl beds off Wester Ross.

    The news follows the results of a survey, published today, by SWT and Fauna & Flora International. Evidence of maerl beds and other seabed habitats was captured using Marine Scotland funded underwater camera equipment and expertise provided by Scottish Natural Heritage.

    Maerl can form extensive purple-pink carpets on the seabed, creating the ideal nursery habitat for marine life including young cod, scallops, and crabs. However, it is also extremely vulnerable to disturbance as it only grows around 1mm per year.

    SWT's Living Seas Policy Officer, Alex Kinninmonth, said: "The survey has proved to be very important as current Scottish Government proposals will leave many of these newly discovered maerl beds unprotected from damaging fishing methods like dredging. Now that these fragile habitats are on the map they must be included in protection plans.

    "It also serves as a reminder that there are still big gaps in our knowledge of the seabed, and so there is a clear need for a more precautionary approach to protecting it."

    New maerl beds were identified off the coast of the Trust's Ben Mor Coigach Wildlife Reserve, off Isle Martin, and near the Rhue Lighthouse at the mouth of Loch Broom. Further discoveries increase the known extent of maerl beds along a stretch of coast between Gruinard Bay and Little Loch Broom.

    The fragile nature of maerl was also evident as the survey failed to find previously recorded maerl beds in an area of the Summer Isles that has seen the largest amount of scallop dredging in recent years.

    The Scottish Government is currently consulting on plans to prohibit fishing including scallop dredging and bottom trawling on certain seafloor habitats within the Wester Ross MPA and other MPAs in Scottish coastal seas.

  10. #70
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    Default New Research Finds Better Lobster Numbers Can Increase Disease Risk

    http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/...s-disease-risk

    UK - Many marine protected areas (MPAs) have been hailed as the silver bullet for conservation, with reports of increased catch, and spillover of recovered populations into adjacent fisheries, helping to replenish overfished stocks. However, new research has found that there may be unintended consequences if these areas are left unchecked.

    New research by Dr Charlotte Eve Davies, Department of Bioscience, Swansea University, has shown that as populations of certain species are restored, disease can increase too. This was specifically seen in lobsters in the Lundy Island MPA.

    Lundy Island, off the coast of Devon, was the UK’s first MPA. It was established as a marine nature reserve in 1986, incorporated a no take zone in 2003 and was designated a marine conservation zone in 2010.

    Four years of monitoring from 2003 to 2007 saw a marked increase in commonly fished species, such as lobster, inside the no take zone when compared to fished areas.

    But in 2010, a study of Lundy called for a cost-benefits review of marine reserves, after it was found that shell disease in European lobsters may be increasing inside the protected area, supposedly caused by the high density of certain species.

    The researchers returned to Lundy the following year to monitor the populations of European lobster. When the researchers compared a fished area to the eight-year-old, unfished, no take zone, they found more abundant, and larger lobsters inside the no take zone

    This phenomenon is a well known upshot of establishing MPAs and one of the reasons they are celebrated. Local fishermen agreed that since the no take zone was implemented, there has been an increase in catch around the area.

    But in the same survey, the researchers found that there was a higher probability of lobsters being injured inside the Lundy no take zone. Injury is thought to be induced by the European lobsters' aggressive and solitary nature, so naturally in areas of high density such as the no take zone we expected to find a lot. Still, injury is known to be a precursor to disease. The shell of a lobster is its first line of defence and once breached, this may give rise to entry of pathogens.

    This is crucial to understand, as other studies have shown that pathogens in marine ecosystems are on the rise, a phenomenon which may be exacerbated by climate change.

    In the past, disease in American lobsters is thought to have contributed to the collapse of a lobster fishery in southern Massachusetts. It is important to monitor disease and understand the effects on populations elsewhere in the world, especially those species which are commercially exploited.

    Our study is interesting in that it introduces the idea that un-fished populations in marine parks may eventually reach a threshold at which conditions become unhealthy. This may even introduce the possibility of controlled fishing in long-standing no take zones.

    This may be a controversial move but studies have shown high abundance in marine reserves may render animals vulnerable to disease particularly because infections can no longer be “fished out”. A total ban on fishing is certainly positive in allowing recovery of populations back to unexploited densities, but they may have a finite time span of success.

    There is no doubt that fishery closures and marine protected areas do help contribute to the conservation of species, but the important message here is that we must monitor them closely. In November 2013, the UK designated 27 new MPA sites. Monitoring species richness, abundance and disease in these areas will be crucial to avoid any unwanted byproducts such as disease increase.

    You can view the full report here : http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/co...Da8lY93ZSiidtt

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