To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to page 65 of the Benyon review Into Highly Protected Marine Areas; if he will make it his policy to not assign recreational angling with the red designation that applies to dredging, littering, discharges and commercial fishing; and if he will make a statement.
We welcome the publication of the Review into Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) on 8 June 2020, which is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/highly-protected-marine-areas-hpmas-review-2019. We will consider Richard Benyon’s report and issue a formal response to him in due course. The panel recommended that HPMAs would represent the upper end of environmental protection and should exclude all extractive activity, including recreational sea angling, to allow for full ecosystem recovery.
Defra recognises the importance of recreational sea angling to the economy, its benefits to the health and welfare of society, and the contribution anglers and angling bodies make to environmental improvements. We appreciate and understand the concerns raised by the recreational sea anglers since publication of the Benyon Review. We would consider the socio-economic impact of HPMAs on all sectors, including recreational sea angling, and consult extensively before any decision to designate a site.