The loss of fishing grounds across UK waters points to a frightening outlook for the future of the industry, claims a new report.
Contracted by the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), with the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), marine consultancy ABPmer has developed a series of scenarios to better understand and communicate issues surrounding future spatial pressures on fisheries.
The report was produced among mounting concerns within the fishing industry across the UK, about the loss of fishing grounds to an array of competing spatial pressures, of which offshore wind and marine protected areas top the list.
Suzannah Walmsley, ABPmer Project Manager, said, “Fishing provides enormous value in producing low carbon, healthy and sustainable food, contributing to our food security and supporting our coastal communities. But the lack of effective safeguards for fishing from marine spatial planning means that these benefits are under threat.
The fishing industry recognises the need for marine protected areas, and the importance of net zero targets, but the extent of likely future spatial pressures is of a scale not previously seen, and will have significant implications for fisheries and their future viability.”
The report emphasises the need for a strategic approach to understanding and dealing with the potential for displacement. To that end, the report provides insight into the impact of spatial squeeze on fishing, and highlights the importance of enabling co-existence and co-location where possible, so that marine developments and nature conservation occur in a way that is compatible with the continuation of fishing activity and the viability of fishing businesses.
Intended as a starting point, the report emphasises the need for an improved evidence base for fisheries in marine spatial planning, a strong and effective voice for fisheries in the planning process, and that displacement is avoided, minimised and mitigated as far as possible through technology choice, design and siting, innovation and management.