Call for evidence – gear-feature interactions in marine protected areas - Stage 3

Closed 28 Mar 2023

Opened 17 Jan 2023


Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is seeking additional evidence and views on our draft 'Stage 3 Fishing Gear MPA Impacts Evidence' documents in relation to the impacts of fishing on designated features in marine protected areas (MPAs).

These documents collate and analyse the best available evidence on the impacts of fishing gears on MPA features and will inform site level assessments of the impact of fishing on MPAs as part of Stage 3 of the MMO’s work to manage fishing in MPAs.

MMO held a call for evidence for Stage 2 MPAs between 14 May and 10 July 2022, which focused on interactions between bottom towed fishing and rock and reef features. We have launched a formal consultation on a draft byelaw to manage these interactions, the formal consultation can be accessed here.

Stage 3 covers all remaining interactions between fishing gear and designated seabed features within MPAs not already assessed in Stages 1 and 2. The impacts of fishing on MPAs designated for marine birds and harbour porpoise will be addressed in a separate Stage 4.

MMO has drafted three 'Stage 3 Fishing Gear MPA Impacts Evidence' documents, each focused on the interactions between seabed MPA features and a particular fishing gear group:

  • bottom towed gear
  • anchored nets and lines, and
  • traps.

An introductory document has been prepared to outline the purpose and process of Stage 3 including the methodology of the assessment.

Questions to consider

  1. Do you have any additional evidence about the interactions of fishing gear and MPA seabed features?
  2. Do you agree with the MMO analysis of the available evidence provided in each 'Stage 3 Fishing Gear MPA Impacts Evidence' document? If not, please provide details.

There is also an opportunity to share further information which you can upload as a document.


Before providing any responses, please read the documentation below to familiarise yourself with the Stage 3 call for evidence process; the 'Stage 3 Call for Evidence Introduction', the 'Stage 3 Fishing Gear MPA Impacts Evidence: Summary' and the three 'Stage 3 Fishing Gear MPA Impacts Evidence' documents themselves.

In your response, please reference any specific pages/paragraphs which your comments relate to. This will ensure any comments received are fully understood and of greatest value. 

You can provide a response to these questions for each 'Stage 3 Fishing Gear MPA Impacts Evidence' document under its dedicated section. Alternatively, if you would like to provide a response that relates to all 'Stage 3 Fishing Gear MPA Impacts Evidence' documents, please provide comments under the ‘All gear comments’ section.

It is possible to respond only to specific sections of the survey; you do not need to provide comments on every 'Stage 3 Fishing Gear MPA Impacts Evidence' document. For example, broad responses relating to all gears can be added to the ‘All gears’ section without needing to add other specific information in the dedicated sections for each gear type. 

There is a function to save your draft response as you go so that you can return later to complete your response. Alternatively, we recommend writing up your response in a separate document and copying and pasting your response into the survey.

What happens next

MMO will review the information received during this call for evidence to update and finalise the 'Stage 3 Fishing Gear MPA Impacts' documents. The 'Stage 3 Fishing Gear MPA Impacts' documents will then be used to inform site level assessments of the impacts of fishing on each MPA, which will in turn inform the development of appropriate fisheries management measures for these MPAs.

If management measures are required, these will be subject to appropriate levels of consultation.


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