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Publication - Consultation paper

2014 Consultation on the Management of Inshore Special Areas of Conservation and Marine Protected Areas Approaches.

Published: 11 Nov 2014
Part of:
Marine and fisheries
ISBN:
9781784128913

2014 Public Consultation on the Management of Inshore Special Areas of Conservation and Marine Protected Areas Approaches.

77 page PDF

570.7 kB

77 page PDF

570.7 kB

Contents
2014 Consultation on the Management of Inshore Special Areas of Conservation and Marine Protected Areas Approaches.
Protected Area D - Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura MPA

77 page PDF

570.7 kB

Protected Area D - Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura MPA

(Incorporating Loch Sunart MPA and Loch Sunart SAC)

This section sets out 2 possible management approaches for this protected area.

Approach 2 is preferred because it would protect the common skate whilst in the deep areas that they are known to inhabit. It also gives protection to the shallower waters that connect these 3 areas together which should help protect transients.

A description of this protected area can be found in the main consultation document is Annex A, Protected Area D.

Maps to support understanding of the approaches can be found under Protected Area D in the technical maps document. Figure D1 shows Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura in context with other protected areas.

Measures for Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura would be delivered by Statutory Instrument using powers under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010.

Questions 10 to 12 refer to Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura.

The site features and conservation objectives

Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura MPA

Protected Feature

Conservation objective

Common Skate

Conserve

Loch Sunart MPA

Protected Feature

Conservation objective

Flame shell beds

Conserve

Northern Featherstars

Conserve

Serpulid Aggregations

Conserve

Loch Sunart SAC

Qualifying Feature

Conservation objective

Reefs

Maintain

Summary of the management advice

Feature

Mobile gear

Static gear

Other gear

Common Skate

Consider limitation (spatial or temporal) to minimise fishing mortality

Remove / avoid pressure from bottom-set nets and long lines

Serpulid Aggregations

Remove / avoid pressure from demersal trawl, mechanical dredges, or suction dredges.

Remove / avoid pressure from all bottom contacting gears

Remove / avoid pressure from diver operated suction dredging

Flame shell beds

Remove / avoid pressure from demersal trawl, mechanical dredges, or suction dredges.

Consider reduce / limit pressure

Remove / avoid pressure from diver operated suction dredging

Northern featherstar Aggregations

Consider reduce / limit pressure from demersal trawl, mechanical dredges, or suction dredges.

No advice

Reefs

Remove / avoid pressure from demersal trawl, mechanical dredges, or suction dredges.

Consider reduce / limit pressure

Remove / avoid pressure from diver operated suction dredging

Serpulid aggregations are extremely fragile and are therefore highly sensitive to mobile fishing gear, which causes physical pressures such as abrasion. Previous damage to serpulid reefs (larger structures) has been documented in Loch Creran from what is assumed to be mobile fishing gear and also from mooring block chain scour. Whilst there is no direct evidence of the effects of static gears on serpulid aggregations, given that the habitat has been found to be highly sensitive to physical impacts, it is reasonable to assume that static fishing fear and its associated ground lines are likely to have a similar effect during deployment and recovery.

The physical impacts from mobile gear can affect flame shell beds through direct mortality from damage to the shells, by breaking up the bed and by affecting or removing associated fauna attached to the bed. Flame shell beds are considered highly sensitive to the type of pressures caused by mobile, i.e. surface and sub-surface abrasion. Flame shell beds are also sensitive to the indirect effects of increased sedimentation, which can result in smothering and can result in the subsequent mortality of individuals.

Whilst there is no direct evidence on the sensitivity of flame shell beds to static gear, given their high sensitivity to abrasion and due to the delicate nature of their shells and the nests, intense levels of fishing with heavy static gear could have damaging effects.

The approaches to management

Static gear assessment

Static gear activity is relatively low in Loch Sunart according to Scotmap. The flame shell beds are located in tidal narrows meaning they are unlikely to be subjected to significant pressure from static gear. The intensity of activity is unlikely to be affecting the reefs or the northern featherstars. Consequently no additional static gear management is proposed, beyond those detailed in the measures common to both approaches. However if future studies found there to be a negative effect then this would be addressed then.

Measures common to both approaches

The use of suction dredges (boat or diver operated), long lines, and bottom set nets would be prohibited throughout the MPA. In addition the use of tickler chains on trawls would be prohibited throughout as research my Marine Scotland Science has shown that this reduces accidental by catch of common skate by at least 50% (report in prep.).

In both approaches there would be no demersal trawling or mechanical dredging east of the blue line at the mouth of Loch Sunart as shown in figure D5.

In addition, in Loch Teacuis the deployment of creels and anchoring (or deployment of other bottom contacting implements) would be prohibited as shown in figure D6. A permit scheme could operate to enable local moorings to be maintained or replaced in a manner that would not impact on the serpulid aggregations.

Approach 1

In addition the following spatial measures would apply;

No demersal trawling on mechanical dredging in the 4 deep areas as defined in Figures D2 and D4.

The benefits

The prohibition on using long lines and bottom set nets, along with the technical measure to prevent the use of tickler chains will reduce the risk of accidental by-catch of common skate. The additional spatial prohibitions will reduce disturbance of adult common skate (the reproductive population) in the various deep areas. The measures in Loch Sunart will also protect the flame shell beds, northern featherstars, and the bedrock reef. Giving a high level of protection to the serpulid aggregations should ensure that these structures continue to develop and hopefully form a reef like the ones in Loch Creran. As a total package these measures should further the conservation objectives of all the qualifying features.

The costs

The VMS data in this area appears to be more cluttered with data inward / outward from Oban as well as other anchorages and creeks. This makes estimates more difficult. All affected methods (trawl, mechanical dredge, and long lines) have been amalgamated to avoid identifying individual vessels.

Method

Average annual MPA value

Average annual value affected

% of value affected

Average annual effort hours in MPA

Average annual effort hours affected

% of effort affected

Trawl /Dredge /

Long Lines

£307

£6.5

2%

4296

88

2%

Table D1: Average annual impact of approach 1 based on 2007 to 2013 data for over 15 metre vessels (rounded to nearest £000s)

Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura covers part of ICES rectangles 40E4, 41E4, 42E3, and 42E4. According to the analysis of Scotmap data for trawl and dredge fisheries approximately 2% of the total value of these ICES Rectangles is taken from the MPA. For 2013 this equates to approximately 49 effort days and £57,000. If the same proportion of activity was affected by the measures this would equate to 1 effort day and £1,140 for the year.

The displacement effects

The data shows a very low level of activity would be prohibited by the measures in Loch Sunart, particularly when you factor in the amended area at the muddy basin at the mouth. There is low activity in the 4 deep areas, therefore minimal displacement will occur, and there are plenty of nephrops trawl and scallop dredge grounds within the MPA that could absorb this effort.

Bottom set netting and long lining do not currently take place and therefore these measures will not cause any displacement. The same could be said for hydraulic and suction dredging which are not believed to be currently taking place.

Loch Teacuis is relatively inaccessible which means that loss of the anchorage is unlikely to cause any major problems. There are other more accessible anchorages in Loch Sunart.

Approach 2 (preferred approach)

In addition the following spatial measures would apply;

No demersal trawling or mechanical dredging in the deep area in Sound of Jura and the adjoined deep areas at the Sound of Mull as defined in Figures D2 and D4.

The benefits

The prohibition on using long lines and bottom set nets, along with the technical measure to prevent the use of tickler chains will reduce the risk of accidental by-catch of common skate. The additional spatial prohibitions will reduce disturbance of adult common skate (the reproductive population) in the various deep areas with added protection for transients in shallow water between these. The measures in Loch Sunart will also protect the flame shell beds, northern featherstars, and the bedrock reef. Giving a high level of protection to the serpulid aggregations should ensure that these structures continue to develop and hopefully form a reef like the ones in Loch Creran. As a total package these measures should further the conservation objectives of all the qualifying features.

The costs

The VMS data in this area appears to be more cluttered with data inward / outward from Oban as well as other anchorages and creeks. This makes estimates more difficult.

Method

Average annual MPA value

Average annual value affected

% of value affected

Average annual effort hours in MPA

Average annual effort hours affected

% of effort affected

Trawl /Dredge /

Long Lines

£307

£16.5

5.5%

4296

217

5%

Table D2: Average annual impact of approach 2 based on 2007 to 2013 data for over 15 metre vessels (rounded to nearest £000s)

Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura covers part of ICES rectangles 40E4, 41E4, 42E3, and 42E4. According to the analysis of Scotmap data for trawl and dredge fisheries approximately 2% of the total value of these ICES Rectangles is taken from the MPA. For 2013 this equates to approximately 49 effort days and £57,000. If the same proportion of activity was affected by the measures this would equate to 2.5 effort days and £2,850 for the year.

The displacement effects

This will be similar to approach 1 with a slight increase in potential displacement from the area adjoining the 3 deeps. However this avoids all the most significant fishing grounds in the entire MPA leaving plenty of fishing opportunities within.


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