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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 B - Loch Creran SAC / MPA

77 page PDF

570.7 kB

Protected Area B - Loch Creran SAC / MPA

Introduction

This section sets out 2 possible management approaches for this protected area. There are already protective measures in place for the serpulid aggregations and horse mussel beds. This restricts trawl, scallop dredge, and creel activity. These measures are detailed in The Inshore Fishing (Prohibited Methods of fishing) (Loch Creran) Order 2007.

Approach 1 is preferred because it would put in place the necessary management measures to protect the flame shell beds but allow the single trawler to continue operating in the Loch. It may be preferable to have a permit scheme to limit the fishery to this one vessel.

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

Maps to support understanding of the approaches can be found under Protected Area B in the technical maps document. Figure B1 shows Loch Creran in context with other protected areas.

Measures for Loch Creran would be delivered by Statutory Instrument using powers under the Inshore Fishing (Scotland) Act 1984 or the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. This would be dependent on the outcome of this consultation. The new instrument would either complement the existing measures or replace them entirely.

Questions 4 to 7 refer to Loch Creran.

The site features and conservation objectives

MPA

Protected Feature

Conservation objective

Flame shell bed

Conserve

SAC

Qualifying Feature

Conservation objective

Reefs (serpulid , horse mussel, and bedrock)

Maintain

Summary of the management advice

Feature

Mobile gear

Static gear

Other gear

Serpulid reefs

and

Horse mussel beds

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

Remove / avoid pressure on Serpulid reefs. Consider reduce / limit pressure on horse mussel beds

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

Serpulid reefs are extremely fragile and therefore are highly sensitive to mobile fishing gear, which causes to physical pressures such as abrasion. Previous damage of the reef has been documented in the site from what is assumed to be mobile gear and also from mooring block chain scour. Whilst there is no direct evidence of the effects of static gears on serpulid reef, 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 and horse mussel 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. Both types of bed are assessed as highly sensitive to the type of pressures caused by mobile, i.e. surface and sub-surface abrasion. Flame shell beds and horse mussel 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. For horse mussel beds whilst the sensitivity to static gears is lower than for mobile, depending on the type of epifauna present this may increase if sustaining high fishing intensity.

The approaches to management

Static gear assessment

Static gear activity is relatively low in the Loch 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. Consequently no additional static gear management is proposed. However if future studies found there to be a negative effect then this would be addressed then.

Measures applicable to both approaches

The use of suction dredges (boat or diver operated) would be prohibited throughout the protected area.

Approach 1 (preferred approach)

This approach would deliver a new specific zonal measure, whilst maintaining the existing management measures as shown in figure B2).

Question 5 asks if there should be a permit scheme to maintain trawl effort at current levels.

The proposed measures

No demersal trawling in the area defined at Eriska Narrows (see figure B3) where the flame shell bed that is not covered by existing management measures is found.

The benefit

The existing management does not cover hydraulic or suction dredging. Whilst they are not believed to currently take place it is considered good practice to rectify this anomaly. The measure for the other flame shell bed would ensure that no trawl effort was ever expended on the habitats. This would help further the conservation objectives of the flame shell beds and the serpulid reefs.

The costs

The only current fishery that could be affected by these measures is u10m trawling. However the location of the flame shell bed that this measure would protect is unlikely to be near current fishing grounds in the Loch. Therefore no actual impact is predicted.

The displacement effects

SCOTMAP data shows no 15m trawl effort inside Loch Creran, although there is believed to be one trawler active. This vessel did not participate in the Scotmap project. Trawling is unlikely to take place where the flame shell bed, and therefore no displacement is anticipated. There is no evidence of suction or hydraulic dredging taking place in Loch Creran. Therefore prohibiting these activities would have no displacement effect.

Approach 2

This approach would apply additional management across the entire MPA, and maintain the existing creel measures.

The proposed measures

In addition to existing prohibitions, trawling would be prohibited all year round. This would cover the whole MPA / SAC. This is not shown on a specific map.

The benefit

Removing all potential pressure from trawling, suction dredging, and hydraulic dredging (boat and diver operated) would reduce the risk of negative effect on the flame shell beds and the serpulid reefs to the lowest possible levels. This would further the achievement of the conservation objectives under both designations.

The costs

This would affect possibly only one vessel. Therefore no estimate of cost is included here as it would reveal the earnings of that individual.

The displacement effects

SCOTMAP data shows virtually no 15m trawl overlap with Loch Creran. However the one active vessel believed to be active did not participate in Scotmap. The original management allowed the very low level of under 10m trawling to continue. Displacing the current level of trawl activity would be unlikely to have a significant negative effect on the environment, but would affect the earnings of that one vessel. There is no evidence of suction or hydraulic dredging taking place in Loch Creran. Therefore prohibiting these activities would have no displacement effect.


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