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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 C - Loch Laxford SAC

77 page PDF

570.7 kB

Protected Area C - Loch Laxford SAC

This section sets out the proposed management approach for this protected area.

A description of this protected area can be found in the main consultation document is Annex A, Protected Area C. Maps to support understanding of the approaches can be found under Protected Area C in the technical maps document. Figure C1 shows Loch Laxford in context with other protected areas.

Measures for Loch Laxford would be delivered by Statutory Instrument using powers under the Inshore Fishing (Scotland) Act 1984.

Questions 8 and 9 refer to Loch Laxford.

The site features and conservation objectives

Qualifying Feature

Conservation objective

Large shallow inlet and bay

maintain

Reefs (bedrock and stony)

maintain

Summary of the management advice

Feature

Mobile gear

Static gear

Other gear

Maerl beds

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

Consider reduce / limit pressure

Remove / avoid pressure from diver operated suction dredging

Reefs

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

Consider reduce / limit pressure

Remove / avoid pressure from diver operated suction dredging

The sensitivity of bedrock reef and stony reef primarily relates to activities which cause abrasion and physical disturbance to the seabed surface, such as those caused by mobile/active fishing gear. For bedrock reef there is a risk of direct impact to the fauna living attached to the reef, especially where trawling/dredging activities are targeting grounds very close to bedrock reef.

Mobile/active fishing gear may be used over stony reef where this is interspersed with areas of target ground types. This can result in the damage or death of fragile, erect species such as sponges and corals. This then leads to changes in the structure of the habitat and the long term survival of its associated species.

In addition to direct impacts, bedrock reef and stony reef are sensitive to smothering from increased levels of sedimentation which can be caused by passing mobile/active fishing fear which causes smothering of fauna and flora on the rock surface. Static gear over bedrock and stony reef can also cause surface abrasion when being deployed or recovered, and this has the potential to cause mortality of the fragile epifauna on the reef communities. However, the extent of these impacts on reef environments is variable, and will be dependent on intensity of fishing and the recovery rates of the species involved.

Maerl beds are highly sensitive to physical disturbance caused by mobile gears and have a low rate of recovery due to their very slow growth rate. The three dimensional structure, quality and associated communities of maerl beds can be substantially affected by mobile gear fishing from crushing, burial of live maerl and disruption of the surface and underlying sediment.

In addition to direct impacts, maerl beds are sensitive to increased levels of sedimentation which can be caused by passing mobile/active fishing gear, which causes smothering of the maerl itself as well as associated fauna and flora. The deployment and retrieval of static gear over maerl beds has the potential to cause sufficient surface abrasion that would result in a detrimental effect. However, the extent of these impacts on maerl beds would be dependent on the intensity of fishing.

The approach to management

Static gear assessment

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

The proposed measures

This use of demersal trawl, mechanical dredge, or suction dredging (boat and diver operated) would be prohibited throughout the SAC as shown in Figure C2;

The benefit

By removing or avoiding the pressures being exerted on the habitats, within the shallow inlet and bay, the measures will ensure that these activities will not prevent the achievement of the conservation objectives. It also would mean that future changes to fisheries policy and management are unlikely to require an appropriate assessment.

The costs

Little or no mobile gear fishing has taken place in Loch Laxford SAC between 2010 and 2013. It is estimated that these fisheries are worth less than £1,000 and 1 effort day per year. No further details are provided to avoid potential identification of individuals.

The displacement effects

Over 4 years there has been a minimal amount of effort. Displacing this effort is unlikely to have any effect on the environment out with the SAC. The distribution of relevant activities can be seen in Figures C3 and C4.


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