Marine Conservation Zones:
IW marine committee representatives Alan Deeming & the late Tony Williams participated in the extensive series of initial local stakeholder consultation meetings, which commenced in 2010, in which they were able to influence, to the benefit of RSA, the outcome relating to a number of proposed local sites. This included ensuring that RSAs would not be prevented from fishing along Chale Bay beach and joining with others to oppose a large area of Chale Bay from becoming a no-go area for RSA. This site has been dropped from current proposals but there is no guarantee that it will not be proposed again in some form in the future.
By working closely with representatives of the RYA they were able to get amendments to locations of other proposed local sites to the benefit of RSA. Several reports and newsletters have been generated for this subject.
2nd Tranche (2015)
In June 2014 Alan & Tony attended a meeting with Defra & the MMO to further discus the government's intention to consult on the designation, in the second round of designations, the four previously proposed coastal MCZs round the Island that did not get designated in the first round. These are Needles (up to fort Albert); Yarmouth to Cowes; Norris to Ryde & Bembridge. There was no mention of the originally proposed no go area for close in Chale bay & the government was rethinking its strategy for all the original proposed no go areas in light of the considerable opposition to them. There has been no subsequent mention so this issue may have gone away. Alan was able to glean that the government intends to talk to local stakeholders to try to achieve consensus on what control measures will be put in place for each area, on an area by area basis. The main concerns relating to angling were any possible restrictions on anchoring & on bait gathering. With regard to anchoring, they had a good ally in the form of local senior officials of the RYA who also have a strong interest in not being restricted. They often made joint representations with the RYA in support of this. This concern was reiterated to the new fisheries minister, George Eustice, at a very brief meeting with him on the Island in November 2014. It subsequently transpired that our local IFCA would be the main drivers for conservation measures once any MCZ got officially designated. Of relevance to the IW, only the Needles MCZ, Utopia MCZ & Offshore Overfalls MCZ have been so far designated & as of early 2017, consultation on control measures have not been started. It is an odd set of circumstances relating to IFCA boundaries that results in the Utopia MCZ being fished almost exclusively by boats based in the Southern IFCA area but the MCZ lies within the Sussex IFCA & in consequence, SXIFCA will deal with control measures. The Offshore Overfalls MCZ lies outside the 6 mile limit applicable to IFCAs so will come under the direct responsibility of the MMO to sort out control measures.
For those not familiar, Utopia is an area south east of the Nab Tower with "Overfalls" being am much larger area situated some way south still of that. aggregate extraction to an area of banks south of the Nab Tower.
As the 2 offshore sites do not contain seagrass beds Alan thinks it unlikely that any significant restrictions on anchoring are likely within them & therefore doubts that there will be any significant impact on angling at all within them but he has submitted a consultation response highlighting the need to consider the likely impact on angling if any restriction on angling actually materialised.
Alan also hopes to show the presence of Undulate Rays in these two offshore sites with the aim of getting restrictions on commercial targeting of them in the MCZs
The Needles MCZ has been designated but is slightly different and it may be that some impact on angling may result as a result of what is decided in the way of control measures by SIFCA.
Hopefully the compromises that were achieved in conjunction with representatives of the RYA that were included in the initial recommendations will be accepted in the final outcome. If so then there should be very little, if any, impact on angling but that all depends on the outcome of the new consultation. West Wight based charter skippers were put in touch with a company that was engaged by the RYA to formulate evidence of the amount of recreational activity in the rMCZ with a view to preventing designation.
As far as bait collection is concerned, SIFCA has opted for voluntary codes of practice for Poole harbour but it is yet to address the remaining parts of its area other than as follows. Much of the Solent coastal waters have, for some years prior to MCZs, been given various conservation designations. Defra issued guidance to IFCAs setting out to what degree various marine based activities (eg methods of commercial fishing) could affect features & organisms within the designated areas. This was entirely separate from the MCZ issues. Seagrass beds were features of particular concern & as a result, SIFCA introduced a ban on any form of bait collection in a number of areas of the Island's Solent coastline. It also introduced a ban on bottom trawled nets round much of the Island's coast. For more details please see our Byelaws page under Our Work.
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