Description

Commercial fishing by dredging or trawling

Key locations

Fishing with mobile gear (dredging and trawling) is restricted within a large section of the Berwickshire and Northumberland coast but occasionally takes place on areas of seabed and intertidal sand and mud flats where restrictions do not apply.

Frequency

Infrequent

Potential issues

Loss of reef fauna and flora due to collateral abrasion damage from dredges operating near reef areas

Features of Marine Protected Areas which might be affected

  • Reefs
  • Sand and mudflats (including Eel-grass beds)
  • Birds
  • Grey Seals

Legal Responsibilities or Duties (England)

A number of legal powers, duties or regulatory tools exist which are relevant to this activity and its management. These are summarised in the table below:

Legal Power, Duty or Regulatory Tool Relevant Legislation Lead Organisation
IFCA Bylaw making powers Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (Sections 155-162) NIFCA
Power for the creation of Bylaws on European Marine Sites The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (Regulation 40) Marine Management Organisation
Powers for creation of Bylaws on MCZs Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (Section 129) Marine Management Organisation
Power to create Bylaws for National Nature Reserves National Park and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 (Sections 20 and 106) Natural England
Requirement for Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA)

 

The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (Regulation 63) All Competent or Responsible Authorities as defined by the Regulation.
Duty on Public Authorities to consider the effect of proposed activities on MCZs before authorising them Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (Section 126) All Public Authorities
Requirement for a fishing vessel licence The Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1967

Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967

The Sea Fish Licensing Order 1992

Marine Management Organisation

Details of Current Management (England)

Commercial fishing with mobile gear is an infrequent activity on the Northumberland and North Tyneside coast and is largely regulated through national fisheries policy and by local bylaws. These are summarised below.

A useful note describing different fishing methods has been produced by the Marine Conservation Society.

Trawling and Dredge fishing:

– Northumberland Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (NIFCA) Byelaw 7 prohibits fishing with mobile gear within the English section of the Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast SAC. NIFCA may, on application in writing, issue an authorisation for the use of specified gear in some specified areas of the SAC.

– NIFCA Byelaws 1 restricts the size of vessels operating trawling gear within the three mile and six mile fishery limits. This is thought to limit the type of gear that vessels operating within those areas can use, as well as the areas where they can operate. Multi-rigging, Pair Trawling and Pair Seining are all banned within the district. Only a single trawl fitted with a single codend and utilising one pair of otter boards can be used.

– Northumberland Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (NIFCA) Byelaw 2 set limits on dredge fishing activity. The total number of dredges used by any vessel shall not exceed 10 at any one time, and mouth of dredges will not exceed 75cm.

– Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve byelaws prohibit fishing by mechanical means in the reserve.

– Commercial fishing is now a ‘plan or project’ under the Habitat Regulations and new activities will be subject to Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA).

The latest version of all NIFCA Bylaws can be downloaded HERE

The MMO has powers to create Bylaws to protect European Marine Sites and Marine Conservation Zones. These have not been used on the Northumberland coast but could potentially be utilized in future if any issues effecting the condition of marine protected areas were identified.

Netting:

NIFCA Bylaws prohibit the use of Purse Seine Netting

Vessel Fishing Licences and Fishing Quotas:

Fishing vessels registered in the UK must have a licence to fish for sea fish that will be sold. The purpose of the licensing system is to restrict the size of the UK fleet and control UK fishing opportunities to stay within the quotas under the European Union (EU) Common Fisheries Policy. The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has the power to place restrictive conditions on vessel fishing licences.

Under the EU Common Fisheries Policy, fish stocks are classified as quota or non-quota species. Quotas cover more than 50 commercial species and are distributed between member states. Annual quotas for each fishing vessel are allocated at a national level. Each year Fishing Quota Allocations (FQAs) are allocated to registered vessels. Quotas in England are able to be bought, leased, or swapped.

The Landing Obligation comes into full force from 1 January 2019 and means that catches of all quota species have to be landed and cannot be discarded at sea, unless exemptions apply.

Non-quota species are regulated nationally and do not have limits set at the EU level.

 

Gaps in Management (England)

None

Legal Responsibilities or Duties (Scotland)

A number of legal powers, duties or regulatory tools exist which are relevant to this activity and its management. These are summarised in the table below:

Legal Power, Duty or Regulatory Tool Relevant Legislation Lead Organisation
Prohibition against fishing with mobile or active gear in the St Abbs Eyemouth Area (“Static Gear Reserve”) The Inshore Fishing (Prohibition of Fishing and Fishing Methods) (Scotland) Order 2004 Marine Scotland
Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) of impacts

 

The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (Regulation 48) All Competent or Responsible Authorities as defined by the Regulation.
Power for the creation of Bylaws on European Marine Sites The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (Regulation 28) Marine Scotland
Requirement for a fishing vessel licence The Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1967

Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967

The Sea Fish Licensing Order 1992

Marine Scotland

Relevant Guidance, Plans or Codes (Scotland)

Name Description Responsible Organisation Statutory or Non-Statutory?
 

Scotland’s National Marine Plan

 

 

 

 

The plan covers the management of both Scottish inshore waters (out to 12 nautical miles) and offshore

 

The Scottish Government

 

Statutory

[Marine (Scotland) Act 2010]

Details of Current Management (Scotland)

Commercial fishing with mobile gear is largely regulated through national fisheries policy and by local restrictions on fishing with mobile gear. These are summarised below.

A useful note describing different fishing methods has been produced by the Marine Conservation Society.

Dredge fishing:
– A static gear reserve in exists in part of the Scottish section of Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast SAC. No dredge fishing is permitted in this reserve. The reserve does not cover all of the SAC and dredging was reported to be taking place in SAC areas outside of the reserve during May 2018

Trawling:
– A static gear reserve in exists in part of the Scottish section of Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast SAC. No trawling is permitted in this reserve. The reserve does not cover all of the SAC.

There has been ongoing interest in the establishment of a squid fishery within the Scottish section of the Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast SAC. If formal proposals were put forward in the future, it is they will be regarded as a ‘plan or project’ under the Habitat Regulations and would be subject to a Habitat Regulations Assessment. Scottish Natural Heritage has provided advice in the past but would require further information before a formal assessment of impact on the SAC could be determined.

Marine Scotland has powers to create Bylaws to protect European Marine Sites. These have not been used on the Berwickshire coast but could but could be utilized in future to address any identified issues.

Vessel Fishing Licences and Fishing Quota:

Fishing vessels registered in the UK must have a licence to fish for sea fish that will be sold. The purpose of the licensing system is to restrict the size of the UK fleet and control UK fishing opportunities to stay within the quotas under the European Union (EU) Common Fisheries Policy. Marine Scotland has the power to place restrictive conditions on vessel fishing licences.

Under the EU Common Fisheries Policy, fish stocks are classified as quota or non-quota species. Quotas cover more than 50 commercial species and are distributed between member states. Annual quotas for each fishing vessel are allocated at a national level. Each year Fishing Quota Allocations (FQAs) are allocated to registered vessels. In Scotland a moratorium on the transfer of quotas is in place.

The Landing Obligation comes into full force from 1 January 2019 and means that catches of all quota species have to be landed and cannot be discarded at sea, unless exemptions apply.

Non-quota species are regulated nationally and do not have limits set at the EU level.

Biodiversity Duty:

Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act (2004), all public bodies in Scotland are required to further the conservation of biodiversity when carrying out their responsibilities. This includes coastal and marine biodiversity where relevant to the functions of the public body. The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act (2011) requires public bodies in Scotland to provide a publicly available report, every three years, on the actions which they have taken to meet this biodiversity duty.

Gaps in Management (Scotland)

The static gear reserve on the Berwickshire coast does not cover all of the Berwickshire and Northumberland Coast SAC. Dredging was observed on the SAC outside of the static gear reserve in May 2018. The impacts of this need to be assessed and consideration given to the need for any additional management measures.