Blueprint for fisheries management gets MCS support
MCS says a new partnership which aims to balance conservation and the economic needs of fishermen in Lyme Bay reflects a fresh approach to fisheries management in the UK and it’s keen to see this bottom –up co-management approach adopted as a model elsewhere.
The Lyme Bay Working Group – a collaborative group that includes local fishermen, scientists, regulators and the Blue Marine foundation – the charity formed in response to the award winning documentary – The End of the Line- have created a new voluntary code of conduct which came into force on July 2nd has been agreed with fishermen around Lyme Bay, Britain’s largest inshore marine protected area, and will restrict the amount of gear that can be used by individual fishers.
MCS Fisheries Manager, Jim Masters, says the group will be looking to MCS to act in a capacity as a ‘Critical Friend’. “They would like us to keep a watching brief on the project as it develops and scrutinize the science / data being generated. We are in a position to maintain a national perspective and inform and advise as necessary if we spot gaps in thinking and data generated. We really endorse this approach and believe that we might form a closer working partnership over the duration of the project – for example by awareness raising.”
A Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Working Group will ensure Lyme’s local fishing communities will benefit from a sustainable approach to marine conservation to balance commercial needs with the protection of fragile environments.
“We welcome any constructive dialogue between fishermen and other interest groups, in order that our seas can be used sustainably for all concerned. We understand the role that fisheries play in the local economies, local communities and global food security and as such we are working towards solutions that achieve win-win situations as far as possible, and this is best achieved through constructive dialogue. We are keen to see this bottom –up co-management approach adopted as a model elsewhere,” says Jim Masters.
‘The End of the Line’ author and journalist, Charles Clover, who is also chairman of the Blue Marine Foundation says the Lyme Bay project is designed to address two challenges the UK Government has come up against to date in its efforts to create marine protected areas: “The proposed scheme sets out not only to protect the ecosystem of Lyme Bay but also , crucially, to create some value for local fishermen through the process of conservation. British farmers are paid to conserve on land – our project will try to find ways in which fishermen can derive similar benefits from conservation at seas.”