Benyon Review on HPMAs: Government response expected soon

In June 2020 the Benyon Review on Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) was published. While welcoming the establishment of HPMAs as one of a number of effective ways we can protect and manage our seas and fish stocks, we strongly object to the Review’s recommendation for recreational angling to be banned within all HPMAs automatically. You can read our response here:

We understand the Defra Minister, Victoria Prentis, is now considering the government’s response to the Benyon Review. This response will set out what the government proposes in relation to setting up pilot HPMA sites.

Over the past year we have worked closely with officials from Defra, both on the response to the Benyon Review itself, and in a parallel piece of work, working with CEFAS, reviewing the evidence around both the potential impact and the benefits of sea angling within marine protected areas.

While work on the evidence base around the impact of angling has continued, the work on the response to the Benyon Review was suspended in October 2020. At that time, the Angling Trust were assured by Defra that, “We are expecting to pick up where we left off in the New Year after which we will soon be able to share with you the key points from the draft response.” There has been no further communication from Defra on what their “key points” are and what they are recommending to the Minister.

Stuart Singleton-White, Head of Campaigns, said, “We remain committed to supporting the government in the development of pilot HPMAs in UK waters. We remain of the view that it would be premature to implement an automatic ban on sea angling from HPMAs, or to have a presumption in favour of such a ban.

“Where MPA and HPMAs have been shown to be a success, it is due to effective and comprehensive engagement of stakeholders, including recreational sea anglers, in the identification, purpose, design, and management of these sites. It is vital that any move to take pilot sites forward must involve us at all stages.”

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