Authority hopes for prohibition of scallop dredging

Posted on 07th April 2022 | in Environment

It has been a busy and interesting start to 2022 at the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (Northumberland IFCA). Following a stormy start to the year, fishing activity out of Amble and in the district has been steady and we are grateful to the members of the local industry who submit their monthly permit returns to the IFCA giving details of their fishing activity in the district.

NIFCA patrol boat Robert Arckless MBE

These returns cover potting activity for shellfish and trawling and they provide vital data to enable the IFCA to form the most accurate possible understanding of the state of shellfish and other fish stocks in the district.

In the last 12 months, NIFCA has made amendments to its trawling byelaw and we have also recently completed a consultation upon a byelaw to prohibit all dredging activity for scallops in the NIFCA district.

Further word is now awaited from the Marine Management Organisation and Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) who must consider the byelaw before it comes into legal effect, but we are hopeful that this will happen and that there will be a complete prohibition of dredging for scallops and the potential harm which that can cause to the seabed later in the year.

NIFCA is also dealing locally with the outputs from the Fisheries Act 2020, which was made following the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU and the common fisheries policy. Defra is currently consulting upon the Joint Fisheries Statement under the Fisheries Act which will lay out how the objectives of the Fisheries Act will be met. There are eight fisheries objectives in total, including that fisheries should be environmentally, economically and socially sustainable; that data is collected and shared between authorities and the best scientific advice is used to develop management measures; that British fishing boats have access to fish in all UK waters; and that the impact of fisheries on climate change is reduced and fisheries are able to adapt to the effects of climate change (eg. shifting stocks).

Back on the local scene, NIFCA is a member-based organisation and recruitment has recently been taking place for new members of the Authority. If you have an interest in and knowledge of local fisheries and /or the marine environment then you would be very welcome to apply for any future vacancies which there may be on the Authority. These are interesting roles and a great way to make a contribution to the management and future of our local fishery.

You can contact NIFCA by phone on 01670 797676 or by email nifca@nifca.gov.uk /
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