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Thread: Pembrokeshire Needs Your Help - Petition Against Marine Conservation Zone

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    Default Pembrokeshire Needs Your Help - Petition Against Marine Conservation Zone

    Welsh Assembly Government has entered into a public consultation for the designation of Highly Protected Marine Conservation Zones (HPMCZ) around the Welsh coast.

    We believe that the wrong decision has been made in only planning to designate HPMCZ, prohibiting all extractive activities, this decision appears to have been made politically, rather than scientifically which is a key aspect of the MCZ process.

    Please follow the link below and sign the petition to call upon Welsh Assembly Government to NOT include the three proposed zones in Pembrokeshire as HPMCZ

    https://www.assemblywales.org/gethom...htm?pet_id=760

    It is the intention of WAG to designate three or four sites around the Welsh Coast out of the ten which are under consultation, which will be non-extractive and non-depositional, this in lay-mans terms means that there will be the establishment of NO TAKE ZONES which exclude all commercial and leisure fishing activities from any area which is designated. With the intention of creating a coherent network of MPA (Marine Protected Areas).

    However with 80% of the Welsh coast line and more than 50% of Welsh waters out to the 6nm limit, where the majority of the inshore fishing fleet operate, which is already designated as MPA under the Habitats Directive, surely these already represent a coherent network of MPAs in Wales?

    At present it is unclear exactly what the proposed HPMCZ will bring to conservation management than already exists, except perhaps the fazing out of the inshore fishing industry and coastal communities!!

    The consultation seeks views and information on 10 potential site options in Welsh waters that have been identified by the MCZ project Wales, 3 of which are in Pembrokeshire.

    Site 8. South West of Strumble Head 4.1km sq
    Site 9. Skomer 10.5 km sq
    Site 10. Dale 2.9 km sq

    Links:-
    www.wales.gov.uk/consultation
    www.wales.gov.uk/marine
    data.wales.gov.uk/apps/marine

    The entire MCZ process from the beginning has been conducted without any consultation with the fishing industry, and appears to have been driven from the purist segment of the Countryside Council for Wales, with the ministerial decision to proceed and only designate the higher level protected sites (HPMCZ) being made by a minister intent on leaving office, and not standing for re-election! Therefore not in office to be held accountable to the potential devastation that will be brought on coastal communities should any of these areas be designated.

    All three sites in Pembrokeshire are important to the local fishing industry, and support viable and sustainable fisheries which provide socio-economic stability to individuals employed locally within the inshore fisheries, and surrounding coastal communities.

    As fishermen we share the same concerns for the marine environment as the conservationists, as we see it every day and watch it change, most fishermen realise the importance of fishing in a responsible manner and conduct there activities in such a way to leave the minimum foot print on the environment where they work and depend on to provide their livelihoods.

    Protected areas are options for future management of the fishing industry, but not at the cost of the local inshore fishing industry, these areas are being pushed through by environmentalists with little or no consideration for social-economic activities which will be displaced should any designation occur

    The MCZ project Wales claim that these areas will produce future benefits for a viable fishery in Wales, but have presented no evidence to support this, it seems to be a myth of the conservationists that if fishing activities are removed from these areas, they can preserve features as they see them today, however these features could change all by themselves.

    Fishing from a small boat is a precarious enough business even when there are no restrictions other than weather, without imposing when and where a fisherman can work, with increased pressure from the MCZ project Wales threatening to reduce areas available to the fishing industry, the risk of damaging coastal economics with the loss of employment and livelihoods is potentially catastrophic.

    The fishing industry in Pembrokeshire is already under more pressure than ever before with restrictions on fishing from the European Common Fisheries Policy, profit margins being reduced due to increased fuel prices, which not only affect boat running costs, but logistical costs for buyers to transport fish/shellfish causing prices to drop.

    Being wide open to Atlantic weather systems, fierce tides, and increased activities from military ranges, increased commercial shipping and increased leisure activities and potential wind/wave energy projects around our beautiful Pembrokeshire coast.

    The fishing industry and coastal communities in Pembrokeshire would be dealt a devastating blow if any of the sites under consultation are designated as HPMCZ.

    Please follow the link below and sign the petition to call upon Welsh Assembly Government to NOT include the three proposed zones in Pembrokeshire as HPMCZ

    https://www.assemblywales.org/gethom...htm?pet_id=760

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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/index.php?...4:uk&Itemid=55

    MCS blames text for conservation zone objections

    Monday, 25 June 2012 11:12

    THE Marine Conservation Society claims a 50/50 split among Welsh voters over marine protection is down to the confusing wording in the public consultation which has given rise to concerns about potential restrictions.

    The society made the claim at a briefing for Welsh Assembly Members at the Senedd in Cardiff on 19 June at which it attempted to explain why it considers Highly Protected Marine Conservation Zones (HPMCZ) are necessary for seas surrounding the Welsh coast.

    “We support the concept of HPMCZs for Wales where, like nature reserves on land, wildlife has a safe haven, and activities that could be damaging will be managed,” said Gill Bell, MCS Wales programme manager. “However, we are increasingly concerned that the public feel the measures will be draconian. But suggestions in the media that recreational boat owners, dog walkers and even children playing in rock pools or building sandcastles could find their activities curbed are simply misguided.”

    Assembly Members attending the briefing told the MCS that there was a clear split among the public, some who felt the Welsh Government wasn’t going far enough on marine protection with others feeling the concept was a step to far and could ruin livelihoods.

    Bell added: “The key thing is that the highly protected sites will exclude very few activities, only those that remove - largely through fishing - or dump -eg dredge spoil - material, and most recreational activities are very unlikely to be controlled in any way unless they are causing serious damage or disturbance.”

    There are ten sites under consultation which the MCS says have the potential to benefit all sea users, including commercial fishers and recreational anglers. “This has been demonstrated by highly protected sites elsewhere in the UK and around the world where protecting spawning, nursery and feeding grounds leads to the ‘spillover effect’ of increased fish numbers into the surrounding seas. The sites should be given the chance to prove their value, rather than be dismissed out of hand,” said Bell.

    The Welsh Government public consultation is open until 31 July.

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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/index.php?...4:uk&Itemid=55

    Welsh seek changes to MCZs

    Wednesday, 18 July 2012 08:55

    TODAY the Welsh Fishermen’s Association (WFA) will outline their alternative approach to the establishment of highly-protected Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), during a presentation to Assembly Members at the Senedd.

    The Welsh Government is currently holding a public consultation on plans to establish 10 such zones by 2016, under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. However, there are widespread concerns that the government will prohibit all fishing or gathering from taking place within these zones.

    In its paper, entitled “Striking a Balance: Protecting our Seas and Fishermen’s Livelihoods”, the WFA is therefore proposing an alternative, ecosystem-based approach. Among the paper’s proposals, the WFA highlights the benefits of managing MCZs as multi-use sites, and finding local solutions for local concerns, so that the environmental protection is proportionate to the risk.

    The WFA’s Chairman, Jim Evans, who is a fisherman operating out of Aberporth, said: “The current model of Marine Conservation Zones being proposed by the Welsh Government will effectively prohibit any commercial fishing or gathering place from taking place within these areas. Implementing this would certainly have a disproportionate impact on the economy and culture of coastal communities and there is little to justify this move, both scientifically and economically.

    “As fishermen, we want to see an ecosystem-based approach where the ‘highly-protected’ element is achieved through management rather than the prohibition of activities. Our alternative model is based on multi-use sites which will not only provide high levels of protection to the marine environment, but will also permit traditional access and use of the sites by local commercial fishermen and other coastal sea users to continue”.

    Ceredigion AM Elin Jones, who will be hosting the presentation at the Senedd, added: “Welsh fishermen undertake low-impact fishing activities, and what the government is proposing isn’t proportionate to the risks faced by our coastal environment.

    “The alternative model we propose is an ecosystem-based management approach that balances the requirements of fisheries, environment and conservation, as well as the socio-economic needs of the local communities.

    “I’m glad that the Environment Minister has agreed to attend the presentation and I hope that he will take the fishermen’s concerns on board as the consultation on establishing a network of MCZs in Wales draws to a close”.

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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...sultation.html

    Welsh Fishermen's Response to HPMCZ Consultation



    The Welsh Fishermen’s Association has outlined its analysis of the Welsh Highly Protected Marine Conservation Zone policy in its response to the Welsh HPMCZ consultation in their document entitled “Uncharted Waters”.

    This document highlights a series of legal, procedural and ecological shortcomings of the Welsh Government’s current policy for the implementation of a series of Highly Protected MCZs in Wales.

    The Welsh Government’s proposals outline the introduction of highly protected MCZs where all “extractive and depositional activity will be prohibited”, these areas go beyond simple no-take-zones and may affect a wide variety of sea users. The Welsh fishermen, their communities and others people who enjoy the sea fear that this blanket approach to marine management will impact commercial fisheries, recreational angling and related tourism activities.

    Uncharted Waters highlights some key shortcomings and impacts of the current policy:
    1. There is no legal requirement for HPMCZs – it appears that Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, under which these sites will be designated, does not include any legal requirement for the implementation of “highly protected” MCZs and that the current proposals go beyond the stated aims of MCZs within the Act.

    2. An adequate MPA network already exists in Welsh Waters – Welsh Government figures state that 75% of the coastline and 36% of Welsh territorial waters has already been designated for marine conservation, mainly in the form of European Marine Sites such as Special Areas for Conservation and Special Protection Areas. In fact close to 50% of territorial waters between 0-6 miles from the shore, where the majority of fishing and recreational activities take place, are already protected for conservation. Surely this represents a coherent network of MPAs in Wales?

    3. The HPMCZ policy in Wales is unreasonable – the approach and criteria used to implement the HPMCZ policy in Wales is inconsistent with those employed in England and Scotland which are seen as more democratic. The process in Wales appears to have been driven as much by advocacy of single issue groups and personalities as based upon scientific evidence.

    4. Disproportionate effect of HPMCZs on the inshore fishing families and communities – the HPMCZs proposed by Welsh Government are all bar one sited close inshore where the majority of fishing and recreational activity takes place. The prohibition of these activities on small coastal communities will result in far reaching social, cultural, and economic impacts. Many Welsh fishermen have family histories describing fishing and making a living from the sea for many generations. These family traditions and the aspirations of the next generations are now threatened by the imposition of HPMCZs.

    No guarantee that HPMCZs will benefit biodiversity or commercial fisheries – the claims that HPMCZs will deliver significant gains in either biodiversity or fisheries benefits have been overstated by both Conservation Agencies and some green pressure groups.

    There is in fact a lack of evidence in northern temperate waters of any significant positive effect of such sites. In short, the WFA believe that HPMCZs are the wrong tool for the job.

    6. The negative effects of HPMCZs on other conservation sites has not been considered – the current HPMCZ policy has not adequately assessed the effects of displacement of fishing effort and other activities excluded from these sites to other areas. We have recently witnessed in Wales the effects of displacement on the Cardigan Bay scallop fishery when fishing vessels excluded from traditional fishing grounds in Lyme Bay were forced to look for fishing grounds elsewhere. This pattern could be repeated around Wales by all manner of fishing and recreational activities.


    The WFA fully support Welsh Government’s commitment to the UK vision for ‘clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas’ but believes that there are better ways to achieve it. The WFA has recently produced a report entitled “Striking the Balance” which outlines an alternative ecosystem-based approach to MCZs, one that would promote ecosystem recovery and resilience and better our understanding of the marine environment but without adverse impact to fishermen and local communities. The WFA urges the Welsh Government to give serious consideration to WFA’s alternative proposal and to abandon the 2nd and 3rd stages of the current consultation to focus on the delivery of a truly ecosystem-based solution for Wales’s marine environment and the fishing and tourism communities who depend on it.

    Uncharted Waters can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/Oz1WrP

    Striking the Balance can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/QcTGQX

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