Management of Fishing Activities in MPAs

A diverse and often complex range of approaches have been used by IFCAs to manage fishing activities within MPAs. IFCAs have permanently closed over 3,980 km2 of inshore MPAs to trawling and/or all methods of shellfish dredging, primarily for the purpose of MPA protection.

Each IFCA has the ability to introduce byelaws for the management of fishing activities in their district. In situations where it is clear the conservation objectives for the protected feature (or sub-feature) will not be achieved because of its sensitivity to the type of fishing activity simple spatial closures have been applied, usually through an IFCA byelaw. Further demersal towed gear management exists, which either prohibits specific forms of dredge fishing or provides closures through permit schemes with no allocation.

In some cases, management is more restrictive, prohibiting all fishing as a No Take Zone (NTZ) or perhaps just allowing hand-line fishing. In situations where there is doubt as to whether conservation objectives for a feature (or sub-feature) will be achieved because of its sensitivity to a type of fishing, more site-specific adaptive or innovative management solutions have been reached. These may include seasonal closure of areas, fishing gear modifications, permitted access or other fishing effort limitations. In other cases, IFCAs have sought to introduce management through the use of non-statutory measures, such as Codes of Conduct or Fishery Guidance. In addition, a range of complimentary non-MPA specific measures exist that support the management of fishing activities within MPAs, such as IFCA maximum vessel length byelaws.

Further information about how IFCAs manage fishing activities in Marine Protected Areas can found in the Management of Inshore Marine Protected Areas by the IFCAs 2011 to 2018 booklet or on the interactive Association of IFCAs MPA management webpage.