World Oceans Day
8th June we celebrated World Oceans Day – reflecting the IFCA vision for healthy seas, sustainable fisheries and a viable industry. Defra announced plans for a third round of new Marine Conservation Zones in English seas, to complete the network of marine protected areas in our waters – available at: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/marine/consultation-on-the-third-tranche-of-marine-conser/ . No new sites were announced for the Eastern IFCA district (0-6 nautical miles zone between the Humber and Harwich) – but it would be difficult to fit any more in, since over 95% of the district is already protected by marine protected area designations! These designations do not automatically mean “no fishing”, but require regulators like IFCAs to scrutinise all activities and ensure they are managed in a way that is compatible with conservation targets. We have introduced a Marine Protected Areas byelaw (see: http://www.eastern-ifca.gov.uk/marine-protected-areas-byelaw-2016-2/ ) to restrict fishing activities in the most sensitive areas, and are working on a range of measures to ensure that commercial fishing is a carried out in a sustainable way, in relation to maintaining stocks and protecting our marine environment.