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Evidence needed for management of potting impacts on designated features

As part of an assessment of fisheries impacts on England's EMSs, ABPmer has been contracted to collate and evaluate all available evidence on the impacts of potting on benthic features.


Defra’s revised approach to managing commercial fisheries activity in European Marine Sites (EMSs) requires IFCAs, MMO and Defra to assess the impacts of fisheries on all designated features and habitats within EMSs in England. This is to ensure that all existing and potential commercial fishing activities are carried out in accordance with Article 6 of the European Union Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC. This approach will also apply to Marine Conservation Zones.

The regulators wish to ensure that all possible sources of information are taken into account so that the management of commercial fishing activities is proportionate, realistic and evidence-based. Making best use of the evidence should avoid unnecessarily imposing management measures on potting activity.

ABPmer has been contracted by Defra’s Marine Biodiversity Impacts Evidence Group to collate and evaluate all available evidence on the impacts of potting on benthic features. The evidence will be assessed and synthesised, to develop a tool that can support the assessments of potting activity in Marine Protected Areas.

Suzannah Walmsley, ABPmer Project Manager said:

“Assessing the potential impact of gear types, including potting, on designated features must be evidence-based in order to determine whether management measures will be required or not. There are uncertainties around understanding the effects of potting on designated features. These uncertainties particularly lie around longer-term exposure, different potting intensities and indirect effects of removing feature attributes.
“It is important that all available relevant evidence is incorporated into the review and we therefore invite you to submit any sources of evidence, or bring any evidence sources to the attention of the project team that you feel should be considered. This may include previous studies, reviews and ongoing research.”

The project runs from January to March 2015 and will hold a workshop in London on the 25 February to present the draft review of evidence sources, assess evidence gaps and consider how management decisions can best be taken forward for the 2016 deadline. Places are limited but if you would like further information please contact Suzannah Walmsley on +44 (0)23 8071 1840.