Highly Protected Marine Area (HPMA) Consultation Launched

Today (Wednesday 6th July 2022) the public consultation on five candidate highly protected marine areas (HPMAs) has been launched. The consultation will run until the 28th of September 2022. It can be found here: 

The proposed sites include two inshore sites – Allonby Bay and off the coast of Lindisfarne – and three offshore sites – two in the North Sea and one at Dolphin Head in the Channel. 

Hannah Rudd, Policy & Advocacy Manager said “The Angling Trust will be working closely with anglers and skippers who fish in the proposed areas to formulate a response that includes their views in the consultation. It is no secret that our marine environment is in trouble and steps to promote ocean recovery are welcome. We will be working hard to ensure the interests of sea anglers and the contribution they make to protecting our environment is recognised.  Sea angling now and in the future depends on a healthy marine environment so that anglers up and down the country can enjoy the sport they love. We are working hard to ensure sea angling views are heard by the government.” 

The Angling Trust has been pushing government to include a collaborative co-design and co-management approach to highly protected marine areas that involves the local community. Over the coming weeks, we will be liaising with anglers and skippers in the proposed areas to hear their views and encouraging as many sea anglers as possible to respond to the consultation.  

The Angling Trust is also advocating for low-impact “angling-only buffer zones” surrounding the initial no-take zone. 

Following the Benyon Review on Highly Protected Marine Areas, the Angling Trust has been working closely with Defra to ensure recreational sea angling isn’t unfairly discriminated against during the designation of these sites. You can read our response here. 

Highly protected marine areas will effectively be ‘no-take’ zones for fishing activity. The selected pilot sites cover a mixture of marine habitats and include important breeding and nursery grounds for recreationally and commercially important species. They also include key “blue carbon” areas, such as biogenic reefs like mussel beds and honeycomb reefs, that are important for sequestering and storing atmospheric carbon to curtail the impacts of climate change. 

The Angling Trust welcomes steps to recover our marine environment. Sea angling depends on healthy fish stocks and many anglers are calling for better fisheries management to support their recovery. The Angling Trust aims to ensure sea angling views are represented throughout that process.  

We will be sharing a guide to responding to the consultation in the coming weeks. 

Please email [email protected] if you are an angler or charter boat skipper in the affected areas and would like to share your views.  

Notes from the Consultation 

Lindisfarne HPMA: 

Local knowledge suggests both shore and boat-based angling is a popular activity is this area. A small number of charter angling vessels are thought to operate from Berwick and Seahouses, some of which are also commercial shellfish vessels. It’s estimated approximately 20 private fishing vessels operate from Berwick, Holy Island and Seahouses with additional trailer launched vessels in the summer months and additional activity from local campsites. Shore angling occurs from the beaches within the site targeting flatfish, as well as from any rocky shore for cod, pollock, saithe, wrasse and occasional bass. Recreational fishers have recreational shellfish permits allowing them to set a maximum of five pots targeting mainly lobster. Significant dive activity also takes place within the site during the summer months which may result in the removal of crab and lobster from the site. 

Allonby Bay HPMA: 

Shore based recreational angling is likely to be popular along this coastline, however limited data on extent of this activity is available at this time. Evidence is not available to suggest the level of displacement of angling activity, however as this is a tourist destination with the potential for high angling activity and low intensity boat angling, some displacement is possible. 

Dolphin Head HPMA: 

The offshore nature of the site means that only boat-based angling is possible here. There is no data on the sea angling activity within the site, although some charter boat fishing has been recorded within 20km of the site and there is anecdotal evidence of charter fishing targeting shark take place in the area. Given the distance from the shore, it is very unlikely that there is a lot of activity by either private or charter boats. 

Inner Silver Pit HPMA: 

Due to the offshore nature of this candidate HPMA only boat-based angling is possible in this location. Charter and private boat fishing is possible, but opportunities would be limited due to the need for good weather to access the site. As a result, it is unlikely that there is a lot of activity by either private or charter boats.  

North East Farnes Deep HPMA: 

The offshore nature of this candidate HPMA means that only charter and private boat recreational fishing is possible, but opportunities would be limited due to the need for good weather. As a result, it is unlikely that there is a lot of activity by either private or charter boats. 

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