This marks a further step forward in protecting our marine environment as the government draws on post-Brexit freedoms to protect rare and valuable marine habitats and species.
It follows the announcement of Byelaws to prohibit damaging fishing activity in four MPAs last month, including Dogger Bank and the Canyons, which will come into force on 13 June 2022.
The MMO are now seeking views on the impacts of bottom towed gear (BTG) fishing in 13 more MPAs which contain some of the most sensitive features at risk from this activity, including rock, and rocky and biogenic reef.
The evidence put forward at this stage will be used to inform MMO’s assessments ahead of formal consultation on management of the sites.
Tom McCormack, Chief Executive Officer of MMO, said:
“The Marine Management Organisation is the regulator and manager of 230,000 square kilometres of hugely diverse seas, almost double that of England’s land mass, and represents some of the busiest seas in the world.
“Our purpose is to protect and enhance our precious marine environment and support UK economic growth. We support sustainable marine activities, such as fisheries and renewable energy, to co-exist with other users of the seas, while protecting our precious marine environment for the benefit of future generations.
“This call for evidence for these 13 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) signals our commitment to better protect and manage our seas and coasts.”
The Call for Evidence will run for 8 weeks from today (14 May) until 10 July 2022. The draft MMO assessment documents, including all relevant information on how to contribute to this process, are available at this link.
The Call for Evidence applies to the following MPAs:
- Cape Bank
- East of Haig Fras
- Farnes East
- Goodwin Sands
- Haig Fras
- Haisborough, Hammond and Winterton
- Hartland Point to Tintagel
- Land’s End and Cape Bank
- North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef
- Offshore Brighton
- South of Celtic Deep
- Wight-Barfleur Reef