Marine Protected Areas: Fisheries

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 23rd September 2022.

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Photo of Rupa Huq Rupa Huq Labour, Ealing Central and Acton

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of banning all types of destructive fishing from Marine Protected Areas.

Photo of Mark Spencer Mark Spencer The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a devolved competency and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Marine Management Organisation and the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities assess on a site-by-site basis which fishing activities could prevent MPAs from achieving their conservation objectives. Byelaws are developed using an evidence-led process to determine what management is required to protect sites and to not unduly restrict legitimate fishing activity.

98 MPAs in English inshore waters already have byelaws in place to protect sensitive features from damaging fishing activities and the first four offshore byelaws have now been established. A Call for Evidence on byelaws in 13 more MPAs has recently closed. We aim to have protection in place for all our offshore MPAs by 2024.

In July, we also launched a consultation on five candidate Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) in English waters. With the highest level of protection in England’s seas to enable the ecosystem to fully recover, many activities including commercial and recreational fishing would be prohibited. HPMAs would complement the existing MPA network. Any HPMAs Government decides to designate following the consultation would be designated by July 2023.

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