call evidence fishing porpoise

The Marine Management Organisation has launched a call for evidence on the impacts of fishing on harbour porpoise and marine birds

As part of the next stages for managing English offshore marine protected areas (MPAs), the MMO has launched a call for evidence to support the assessment of fishing on harbour porpoise and marine bird MPAs.

From 05 December 2023 to 13 February 2024, stakeholders, including fishermen, environmental groups and the wider public, are asked to share evidence and their views on the impact of commercial fishing on highly mobile species in offshore MPAs.  

The designation of highly mobile includes harbour porpoises, which are protected in two MPAs, and certain bird species in three MPAs, in MMO’s jurisdiction. Harbour porpoises are small and round-faced marine mammals found in UK waters and across continental shelf waters of the North Atlantic and North Pacific. The marine bird species protected include red-throated divers, Sandwich terns, common scoter, little gulls, little terns and common terns.  

Two MPAs within MMO’s area of responsibility protect harbour porpoise:

  • Southern North Sea
  • Bristol Channel Approaches
  • A further three MPAs protect marine birds in MMO’s area of responsibility:
  • Greater Wash
  • Liverpool Bay
  • Outer Thames Estuary

Hilary Florek, Chair of MMO said:

“MPAs are designed to protect and recover rare, threatened and important habitats and species. To achieve this and ensure we propose appropriate management measures, we need to consider all available evidence.

“To support our latest stages, we’re asking you to specifically share evidence and views on the impact of fishing on harbour porpoise and protected marine bird species – these are species protected by five of our offshore MPAs. I also ask that you please view our Stage 4 documents, including the Fishing Gear Impacts Evidence and Call for Evidence Introduction, and share your views to help inform our next steps.’’

Marine Minister, Lord Benyon said:

“Our comprehensive network of MPAs is a key part of how we protect and restore sensitive habitats and species in UK waters.

“This call for evidence will help us move to the next stage of managing these protected sites and I urge the fishing industry, stakeholders and other interested parties to share their evidence and views to help develop a plan that works for all.”

Those wishing to take part are asked to consider impacts of different types of fishing gear, pressures of interest and potential management options for harbour porpoise and marine birds.

To respond, please complete our online survey.

Find out more about marine protected areas.


Source: Press Release

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