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Time is running out for Marine Conservation Zone consultation responses
Published:  12 March, 2013

The MPA Fishing Coalition (MPAC) is warning that the time to respond to Defra’s Marine Conservation Zone consultation is running out.

Spokesperson for MPAC, Dale Rodmell said:  “The three-month consultation draws to a close on 31st March.  It is essential that those who may be affected by the designations come out and state their case.  We are encouraging fishermen to send in their own responses or through local associations but copy them to MPAC so that they can be reflected in our response as well.”


Further details of the consultation are available at:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/consult/2012/12/13/marine-conservation-zones-1212/


Locations of recommended MCZs including those proposed for designation in 2013:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/consult/files/mcz-i2-map-20121213.pdf


Formal consultation response form:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/consult/files/mcz-annex-h-121213.doc


Should Defra’s response form seem too daunting then a shorter form is available at:  http://www.nffo.org.uk/downloads/121217%20MCZ%20Public%20Consultation%20-%20MPAC%20Response%20Form.doc


The Coalition is advising that key issues to respond on include:

    ·      What effects the different management scenarios would have on fishing communities and the accuracy of the impact assessment.

    ·         Whether boundaries could be changed that would limit fisheries impacts.  In this case an alternative boundary should be proposed.

Dale Rodmell said: “Some green groups claim that a lot of time was given to planning the proposals, but in reality only 16 months was given to active drawing of areas on charts.  Even that was constrained as sites proposed late in the process were quickly “locked-down” with limited scrutiny due to project facilitators’ closing down of options and the positioning of opposing groups in the face of the predefined completion date for the projects.

“This, together with the failure of the scientific guidance to recognise the wider conservation risks of fisheries displacement means that some of the proposals are really not fit for purpose, whilst others need amending.”

It is the need for careful detailed site-by-site responses from those that would be affected that are most important in the face of what many have called an irresponsible and high-handed campaign led by celebrity chef-turned-conservationist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

The 127 campaign has sought to pressurise government into taking hasty and risky decisions to designate all sites that would undoubtedly lead to unintended consequences, as well as great hardship to those communities on the blunt end of such decisions.


Copies of responses can be sent to MPAC, c/o NFFO, 30 Monkgate, York, YO31 7PF, United Kingdom; nffo@nffo.org.uk




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