Development of a byelaw to facilitate ARM
The need for a byelaw
Adaptive Risk Management (ARM) is summarised as ‘learning by doing and adapting based on that learning’. In the context of the Cromer Shoal MCZ, this includes the implementation of management measures, monitoring their effectiveness and adapting as needed.
Eastern IFCA has implemented voluntary measures to address the highest risk elements of potting activity within the MCZ.
Eastern IFCA also has byelaw making powers to implement management measures which further the conservation objectives of the Cromer Shoal MCZ. These powers are being used to make a flexible permitting byelaw, the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds Byelaw 2023, which will prohibit fishing without a permit and will enable the Authority to introduce, vary and revoke flexible permit conditions as required. This flexible approach to managing fisheries is ideally suited to support the delivery of ARM.
The byelaw making process includes informal and formal consultation with stakeholders, quality assurance by the Marine Management Organisation and consideration and confirmation by the Secretary of State for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs. Whilst the byelaw progresses through this process, Eastern IFCA is also developing some permit conditions which are intended to come into effect once the byelaw is confirmed. These permits conditions will also be the subject of consultation to inform their development and a final decision on implementing them is the responsibility of the Authority.
N.B. the first set of permit conditions are at consultation until 29 February 2024. More information can be found here.
In April of 2022, the Project board decided to start the byelaw drafting process. To inform the development of the byelaw, informal consultation took place between June 2022 and January of 2023.
Informal consultation with stakeholders informed the development of the first draft of a flexible permit byelaw called the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds Byelaw 2023. The informal consultation included two phases and the outcome documents for the informal consultation can be found at the links below.
Phase 1 – this phase included dialogue with fishery stakeholders, providing the opportunity for them to offer any management ideas which might reduce risk to the chalk and to sense check the use of a permit byelaw.
Phase 2 – included dialogue with the full range of our stakeholders, seeking their views on the proposals developed from phase 1.
Making the byelaw
The Authority was presented with the draft wording of the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds Byelaw 2023 as informed by the informal consultation at its 51st Eastern IFCA meeting. Members formally made the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds Byelaw 2023 and agreed to put the draft byelaw to formal consultation.
A formal consultation on the draft wording of the byelaw was undertaken between 30 March and 31 May 2023. The consultation informed some additional revisions to the byelaw which are outlined in the outcome document.
Quality Assurance by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO)
The Quality Assurance (QA) process ensures that the byelaw is lawful and clear, and the correct process was followed in making the byelaw. The process can be time consuming depending on the complexity of the byelaw and the capacity of the IFCA byelaw team at the MMO.
The byelaw was submitted to the MMO on 23 November 2023, and feedback is anticipated by February of 2024.
Confirmation by the Secretary of State
After QA, a byelaw is submitted to the Secretary of State to be considered for sign-off. This can include additional consideration by Defra prior to ministerial sign-off.