LATEST UPDATE AT 12-7-2019:
Despite several MCZs having been proposed originally for the waters round the Isle of Wight, as of July 2019 only two have actually been designated.
The Needles MCZ was designated in 2016.
There was a two year deadline from designation for any management measures to be put in place. It would seem that no management measures have been introduced specifically as a result of the designation so slight fears that anchoring might be banned by the MMO in some of the area are so far not realised.
Southern IFCA does have in place a restriction on commercial fishermen preventing them from using bottom trawled gear in part of this MCZ but that management measure was introduced for reasons totally separate from the designation of the MCZ.
The only other MCZ so far designated locally is Bembridge MCZ which was designated in 2019.
The two year period for considering management measures has thus only just begun. It is unlikely that there will be any adverse affect on angling. There is no proposal to consider management of Black Bream. Some seagrass exists within this MCZ but see next para.
Despite much talk originally about issues relating to anchoring in Solent seagrass beds, no restrictions have been introduced at all for the 700ha of seagrass beds in the Solent that have been subject to some form of conservation designation for quite a few years. Southern IFCA are leaving any considerations about this to the MMO since SIFCA only has management authority over angling & fishing vessels and not over yachts, power boats etc which are claimed to be the main problem in seagrass beds.
As the 2 offshore sites do not contain seagrass beds Alan thinks it unlikely that any significant restrictions on anchoring are likely within them & therefore doubts that there will be any significant impact on angling at all within them but he has submitted a consultation response highlighting the need to consider the likely impact on angling if any restriction on angling actually materialised.
Alan also hopes to show the presence of Undulate Rays in these two offshore sites with the aim of getting restrictions on commercial targeting of them in the MCZs
The Needles MCZ has been designated but is slightly different and it may be that some impact on angling may result as a result of what is decided in the way of control measures by SIFCA.
Hopefully the compromises that were achieved in conjunction with representatives of the RYA that were included in the initial recommendations will be accepted in the final outcome. If so then there should be very little, if any, impact on angling but that all depends on the outcome of the new consultation. West Wight based charter skippers were put in touch with a company that was engaged by the RYA to formulate evidence of the amount of recreational activity in the rMCZ with a view to preventing designation.
As far as bait collection is concerned, SIFCA has opted for voluntary codes of practice for Poole harbour but it is yet to address the remaining parts of its area other than as follows. Much of the Solent coastal waters have, for some years prior to MCZs, been given various conservation designations. Defra issued guidance to IFCAs setting out to what degree various marine based activities (eg methods of commercial fishing) could affect features & organisms within the designated areas. This was entirely separate from the MCZ issues. Seagrass beds were features of particular concern & as a result, SIFCA introduced a ban on any form of bait collection in a number of areas of the Island's Solent coastline. It also introduced a ban on bottom trawled nets round much of the Island's coast. For more details please see our Byelaws page under Our Work.
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