Defra’s revised approach to managing commercial fisheries activity in European marine sites requires regulators to assess the impacts of fisheries on all designated features and habitats in English waters. Such assessments must be evidence-based.
ABPmer was contracted by Defra’s Marine Biodiversity Impacts Evidence Group to develop an information tool that can be used when undertaking assessments.
We collated and evaluated all available evidence on the impacts of potting on benthic features to understand the effects on designated features. In particular we wanted to understand the uncertainties that exist around longer-term exposure, different potting intensities and indirect effects of removing feature attributes. Once evidence was collated we ran a workshop with stakeholders to consider evidence gaps and how management decisions can best be taken forward.
The review concluded that existing levels of potting activity were largely consistent with the achievement of site conservation objectives and therefore that little additional management of the activity was likely to be required.
The work is informing appropriate assessments that are being undertaken by Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities to ensure that fishing activity complies with the requirements of the Habitats Directive.