North Norfolk fishermen need to be consulted more on Marine Conservation Zones

By alex hurrell
Thursday, March 7, 2013
8:31 AM

Fishermen must be better consulted over any future plans to create Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) off the Norfolk coast, county councillors will hear next week.

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Defra is consulting on proposals for three MCZs off Northumberland, but two areas off Norfolk the Cromer Shoal Beds and The Wash Approach may be taken forward for designation later.

A report to next Wednesdays county council environment, transport and development overview and scrutiny panel supports the thinking behind MCZs, which aim to protect marine wildlife, habitats and geology, and recognises that the two Norfolk sites may warrant future designation.

But the paper is critical of inadequate consultation with the local fishing community carried out so far. It says: It is strongly recommended that stakeholder engagement is substantially improved prior to subsequent tranches of MCZs being proposed.

Council leader Bill Borrett, cabinet member for environment, said it was hugely frustrating that little consideration had been given to the impact of MCZs on fishing communities.

He added: Inshore fishing is the most sustainable type of commercial fishing, but could suffer very badly both from the loss of traditional fishing grounds, and the increased pressure on those that remain.

John Lee, one of three North Norfolk Fishermens Society representatives who took part in earlier consultations, said a No Trawl zone had operated for decades between Blakeney Church and Mundesley Church, and three miles out to sea.

The soft fishing, using pots, practised by local fishermen did not damage the marine environment and he would be very concerned if the creation of a future MCZ involved any further restrictions on people trying to earn a living in the way they had done for centuries.

The panel will also consider the councils role as lead local flood authority with a duty to investigate flooding. Among flood reports currently being investigated are incidents in Dereham and Wymondham.

An update on the Better Broadband for Norfolk initiative is also on the panels agenda.

5 comments

  • The fishermen were well represented at the MCZ meetings, they easily outnumbered conservationists. An MCZ will protect the local fishermen as much as the reef from the threat of overfishing. It's in the best interests of all who are genuinely concerned about the future.

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    Rob Spray

    Monday, March 11, 2013

  • The fishermen were well represented at the MCZ meetings, they easily outnumbered conservationists. An MCZ will protect the local fishermen as much as the reef from the threat of overfishing. It's in the best interests of all who are genuinely concerned about the future.

    Report this comment

    Rob Spray

    Monday, March 11, 2013

  • Lets have more windmills to finish off the project !

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Thursday, March 7, 2013

  • The MCZ are protecting the fisheries and job of fishermen, that's the whole idea behind it, to stop beam trawler's fishing and provide more for those onshore fishermen who are interested in the long term, not just profits for today.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, March 7, 2013

  • The fishing community was very much better represented than conservation in the MCZ meetings and it is pretty clear that the impact analysis was very much a 'cost' assessment without taking into account the very clear and considerable financial benefits of protecting productive seas. There was no dispute that the chalk reef is fairly healthy now. There should be unanimous agreement that long term protection of the reef is in the best interests of all. http:www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.ukConservationLiving-Seas.aspx

    Report this comment

    Rob Spray

    Friday, March 8, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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