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Improving the evidence base for fisheries assessments: report available

In a study for the NFFO, we trialed ways to reduce uncertainties in data relating to the distribution and intensity of fishing activities and the effects of fishing gears on habitats and species.


Ensuring an appropriate evidence base is crucial to the successful management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to the benefit of conservation interests and the future of the fishing industry.

Working with Ichthys Marine Ecological Consulting Ltd on behalf of the NFFO, we trialed ways to reduce uncertainties in data relating to the distribution and intensity of fishing activities and the effects of fishing gears on habitats and species.

During the study we looked at the effects of fishing activity and natural environmental conditions on the seabed in three MPAs. The assessments were based on the impacts of individual gear components allowing a clear distinction to be drawn between the different pressures and their spatial extent.

The MPAs and fisheries examined included:

  • Beam trawling in North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef SCI;
  • Shrimp trawling in The Wash and North Norfolk Coast SAC;
  • Otter trawling in Margate and Long Sands SCI.

We found that basing an assessment on the impacts of individual gear components reduces the uncertainty and the need for precaution to be used when managing certain fisheries.

The full report and individual gear assessment reports are available below.

Report downloads

Supporting Risk-Based Assessments of Fishing in MPAs

Gear assessments


Learn more about the fisheries MPA assessment project.