Displacement of fishing effort from Marine Protected Areas

Informing the understanding of fisheries displacement impacts and improving consideration and assessment of displacement impacts

When new management measures are applied to fishing activities in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), the fishing activity may be lost completely or redistributed to other areas. The resulting displacement of fishing effort can have knock-on impacts on the marine environment, on fishers and on other marine sectors.

The number of management measures in MPAs in England that affect the fishing sector is expected to increase rapidly in the coming years to better support achievement of conservation objectives. It is important that the nature of potential displacement, and its potential impacts, are better understood in order to support the design, implementation and monitoring of management measures in MPAs.

ABPmer was contracted by Natural England to help them better understand the potential impacts of fisheries displacement and improve consideration and assessment of displacement impacts.

We undertook a review of literature on displacement of fishing effort from closed areas, compiled information on existing management measures in MPAs in England, and developed guidance on assessing displacement from MPAs, together with an associated template for recording the assessment outputs. The guidance can also be used to inform a rapid assessment of different options as part of the process of developing management measures.

We also set out options for monitoring fisheries displacement, which could form part of the monitoring plan for the site, and identified knowledge gaps and research priorities.

It is expected that the outputs from this project will contribute to more effective management of the marine environment including species and habitats of conservation concern.

ABPmer carried out this project in collaboration with the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) and ICF.