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Fishing (incl. shellfisheries)

This category covers the following activities: anchored nets/lines, electrofishing, traps, pelagic fishing (or fishing activities that do not interact with sea bed), hydraulic dredges, dredges, demersal trawl, demersal seines, diving and sea angling.

In the SEMS Management Group 2015 Monitoring Report, fishing activities have been flagged to be a high risk or (Tier 1) activity. High risk activities are considered as potentially representing a high risk and/or not having sufficient “systems in place to ensure they are managed in line with the Habitats Regulations” and, therefore, requiring further management consideration. During the 2015 consultation a request was made to reduce the risk of fishing activity from high to medium risk. The response from the group was that in order to do this a clear audit and evidence trail would be required to reduce the risk. This assessment, in line with Article 6.2 of the Habitats Directives, will form part of that audit trail, as will other assessments regarding the fishing activities within the Solent EMS. It is considered that some level of management will be required for high risk activities within the EMS.

This audit trail will be achieved through Southern IFCA’s responsibilities under the revised approach to the management of commercial fisheries in European Marine sites announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Site level assessments are being carried out in a manner that is consistent with the provisions of Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive, but are required to meet the 6(2) responsibilities of Southern IFCA as a competent authority. The aim of the assessment will be to consider if the activity could significantly disturb the species or deteriorate natural habitats or the habitats of the protected species and from this, a judgement can be made as to whether or not the conservation measures in place are appropriate to maintain and restore the habitats and species for which the site has been designated to a favourable conservation status (Article 6(2)). If measures are required, the revised approach requires these to be implemented by 2016.