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Response to draft Marine Conservation Order consultation

Posted: Tuesday 28 July, 2015 @ 14:01:38

A response has been prepared and submitted to the Scottish Government with comments regarding the draft Marine Conservation Order for the Wester Ross MPA.

WRFT fully supports the proposed exclusion of mechanical dredgers and other heavy gear from the Wester Ross MPA to protect shallow water 'firm ground' habitats. This measure can bring about the greatest benefits to the area with minimal costs.

For the deeper water 'burrowed mud' habitats, WRFT supports the proposed measures in so far as they are intended to safeguard locally-based fishermen. However we accept that some alterations may be needed to ensure as much local support as possible for measures to protect these areas.

We strongly recommend that a licencing system is put in place to safeguard exisiting locally-based fisheries and to prevent otherwise unregulated 'honey pot' type increases in fishing activity as new opportunities arise (c. Loch Torridon).   

There is also a need for a local education and awareness-raising initiative to encourage school children and other members of local communities to take a more positive and  active interest in their MPA and the opportunities it can provide.

The full response can be found via the link below: