Ambassador - Reg Phillips


Angling Trust supports proposals to ban trawling and dredging in Beachy Head East MCZ

The Angling Trust has responded to a consultation on proposed amendments to the management of Beachy Heady East Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) (Marine Conservation Zone Byelaw 2023 Schedule 5) within Sussex IFCA‘s district. You can read our consultation response here.

The current proposals take a zonal approach which will allow trawling in some zones within the site.  The Angling Trust is calling for trawling and dredging to be prohibited across the whole site. Adopting a whole-site approach to prohibiting towed gears is important for maintaining the integrity of the site. We believe it is unnecessary to permit towed gears anywhere within the site boundaries as this gear type will be permitted in the surrounding area beyond the MCZ boundaries.

Beachy Head East MCZ is an important area for recreational sea angling. As a sector recreational angling plays an integral role in delivering social and economic benefits to Sussex through individual participation in shore and boat angling, angling competitions, charter boat businesses, and supporting tackle shop businesses. Angling tourism to Sussex also supports local businesses, such as hotels and restaurants, particularly within the peak summer months.

Beachy Head East MCZ features important nearshore nursery areas for plaice and Dover sole. It also provides feeding grounds for cuckoo wrasse, bib (pouting), black bream, European eel and dogfish (small spotted catshark). Many of these species are recreationally important, particularly for catch-and-release fisheries.

Adopting a whole-site approach to prohibiting towed gears within Beachy Head East MCZ will protect these recreationally important species, their habitats and prey species from the damaging impacts of commercial towed gears, enabling the recreational sector, and low-impact commercial fisheries, to benefit as a result of increases in species abundance and size.

It is the Angling Trust’s view that permitting both commercial trawling and dredging to operate within the boundaries of the marine protected area is contradictory to the objectives of the site to maintain and recover its designated features.

For over a decade, the local recreational sea angling community has campaigned for trawling and dredging to be banned within Beachy Head East MCZ. The Angling Trust hopes the Sussex IFCA listen to these calls and proceed with banning these destructive forms of fishing throughout the site.

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