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Enhancing the fishing gear-MPA feature interactions database - ME5437

As part of the Revised Approach to the Management of Commercial Fisheries (August 2014) regulators have an on-going task to assess fisheries in Marine Protected Areas. This ensure fisheries are compatible with the sites’ Conservation Objectives and determines management measures where there is incompatibility. With the introduction of the Fisheries Bill it is expected that these assessments may also be carried out in wider seas.

At the beginning of the assessment process in 2014, the Fisheries Impacts Evidence Database (FIED) was created. The FIED is a literature library of papers, journals, books, reports etc which provide evidence for fisheries impacts on habitats and species. Further research has been carried out and the database is due to be updated. New evidence will be incorporated, the database made more accessible, evidence linked to Conservation Advice, and the database will be future-proofed by adding user-friendly updating functionality.

Project partners include Natural England, Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities, Marine Management Organisation, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Natural Resources Wales and Cefas, with input from Scottish Natural Heritage and the Environment Agency sought. The partners will be involved in agreeing the priorities for the project and . They will contribute evidence to the project and crucially will contribute further evidence on an on-going basis after the build phase (this current project) is complete. The database allows for efficient working across partners as well as helping ensure consistency in approach.
The project will adopt agile approaches and deliver the following elements:
1. A collation of new literature on gear-feature interactions including: towed gear on sediments; static gear on reefs; light gear on fragile features; other gear-feature interactions prioritised by project partners.
2. A synthesis of collated literature for each interaction agreed across end users.
3. A desk note on appropriate database use and data caveats.
4. A database to host evidence that meets the following: presents the synthesis by gear-feature interaction; link synthesis to supporting individual evidence sources and results; can accommodate new evidence or amended synthesis in the future; is searchable by gear and feature; allows ‘drag and drop’ text for insertion into MPA assessments; usable across organisations with standard software.

The database and associated literature reviews will provide up-to-date literature for regulators to use in their assessments and statutory advisers to use in their advice. Use of the database will enable greater consistency between assessments and management whilst allowing for site-specific differences to be taken into account. Additionally, efficiencies will be created by indexing and collation of evidence.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2020

To: 2021

Cost: £40,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Natural England