Federation sounds caution over no-take zones – Fishupdate.com

Federation sounds caution over no-take zones Published:  15 June, 2006

THE Scottish Fishermen’s Federation is warning that caution should be exercised in the use of no take zones and other marine protected areas as a fisheries management tool in UK waters.

No take zones (NTZ) are areas of the seabed where fishing is prohibited and the debate on this contentious issue has intensified in recent months following the publication of a report for DEFRA by Newcastle University.

The report concluded that evidence pointing to the benefit of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) towards improving stocks of temperate finfish species was inconsistent. The findings did support evidence from tropical areas that sedentary species, such as wrasse (fish like this are not targeted by Scottish boats), can benefit from MPAs but highly mobile species such as cod and haddock, do not.

The report continues to suggest that shellfish stocks can be aided by these protected areas but any increase in biomass is due to the protection and growth of individuals rather than an increase in their abundance. This is supported by findings from more recent assessments of British NTZs. Monitoring from established NTZs in the south of England has concluded that the number of scallops and crabs within the areas is not greater than in fished areas.

Jane Sandell, Inshore Fisheries Policy Officer for the SFF, said: “Many environmental groups are telling the public that no take zones are the magical answer to all the problems of fisheries management. This is simply not the case.”

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