The MPA Fishing Coalition (MPAC) in England is calling on fishermen to make their voices heard in response to Defra’s formal public consultation on Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) proposals in English Waters which runs until 31st March.
Spokesperson for MPAC, Dale Rodmell said: “It is essential that fishermen make known their issues on a site by site basis. While much was done during the course of the regional MCZ projects by various parts of the industry to limit ill-considered site selections, the sheer scale and rushed pace of the planning process and its top-down network design guidance meant that it was not possible to resist all ill-considered proposals.
“The public consultation is really the last chance saloon before the first set of designations goes forward. Whilst MPAC has engaged government successfully at the strategic level over the application of marine evidence, fisheries displacement and legitimate representation, the consultation brings the focus back to the local level where local knowledge is key. Now that there are no regional projects, MPAC is here to provide the platform through which to take those local arguments forward.
“There is already a high level public campaign by green groups as the consultation moves forward, and this is expected to be bolstered by a focus on MPAs in the next instalment of the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Fish Fight series. Against that, we must come forward with credible, factual and site specific arguments on the potential hardship to fishing communities and unintended consequences of poorly selected proposals.”
Further details of the consultation are available at:
Locations of recommended MCZs including those proposed for designation in 2013:
Formal consultation response form:
MPAC is encouraging responses to be sent directly to Defra, but also copied to the MPAC secretariat at the NFFO* in order both to reflect on the details provided in the MPAC consultation response and also so that industry leaders can be fully aware of the detailed site by site issues when engaging government.
However, to simplify the process, a shorter form suited to the issues affecting the fishing industry can be downloaded from the link below and submitted to the MPAC Secretariat at the NFFO to be included in the MPAC consultation response:
Click here to download form.
In particular, this seeks information on the fisheries expected to be affected by each MCZ, any effects each MCZ would have, including from fisheries displacement, and whether any boundary changes could reduce those effects.
The Coalition was formed in 2010 out of a desire across a wide range of fishing industry representative bodies, both in the UK and neighbouring European states, to speak authoritatively with one voice to government.
* MPAC, c/o NFFO, 30 Monkgate, York, YO31 7PF, United Kingdom; firstname.lastname@example.org
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