New Anglo-Scottish fishing coalition formed –

New Anglo-Scottish fishing coalition formed Published:  01 December, 2009

A NEW all fishing industry body has been formed to engage with government over the introduction of marine protected areas in UK waters.

The new organisation, provisionally named the MPA Fishing Coalition, already has the backing of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and is expected to draw wide support from organisations and associations across the fishing industry.

A spokesman for the Coalition said: ‘We recognise that marine protected areas are a political reality, whether as European special areas of conservation or domestic marine conservation zones. If badly implemented, the designation of these areas and the management measures applied within them has the potential to adversely affect the livelihoods of thousands of fishermen, either directly or indirectly.

‘The purpose of the new body is to engage with government at the highest level, on a united industry basis, to ensure that MPAs are introduced in the least disruptive way. We already have Lyme Bay as an example of a brutal, coercive, approach by government dictat.

‘But we also have the example of Stanton Bank where the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation negotiated with the nature conservancy agencies to deliver protection for the vulnerable sea bed feature, while ensuring that fishing could continue in the vicinity. The Coalition’s purpose, first and foremost, will be to provide a strong negotiating platform to ensure that the introduction of future MPAs will follow the Stanton Bank model rather than the Lyme Bay approach.

‘Our concern is the protected area’s potential for displacement of fishermen from their customary fishing grounds.’