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Lyme Bay Experimental Potting Project - MB5204

In July 2008, the UK Government (Defra) implemented a Statutory Instrument (SI) (The Lyme Bay Designated Area (Fishing Restrictions) Order 2008) which closed a 60nm area of Lyme Bay to bottom towed fishing gear. The objective was to protect and recover the sensitive reef habitats that were being damaged by bottom towed fishing activities, predominantly scallop dredging. A comprehensive study (MB0101 Marine Biodiversity R&D Programme) by the University of Plymouth, the Marine Biological Association (MBA) and Plymouth Marine Laboratories (PML) was undertaken in order to assess the ecological and socio-economic impacts of the SI (Attrill et al. 2011; Mangi et al. 2011).

However, static gear fishing (mainly potting), commercial scallop diving, recreational fishing and recreational diving activities have been permitted to continue inside the protected area. Concerns were soon raised by local fishermen over significant increases in the level of commercial potting activity within the designated area. The environmental impacts of potting on both the seabed epibiota, reef associated species and on local fisheries are not understood. In partnership with the Blue Marine Foundation, the University of Plymouth developed an experimental 4 year project to assess the impacts associated with increasing potting activity for the first time, in partnership with local Lyme Bay fishermen. The project started in 2013 and was extended by 1 year.
Ecosystem aims:
1. Assess the impacts of increasing potting density on sessile reef epibiota and assemblages
2. Assess the impacts of increasing potting density on benthic macro-mobile species and assemblages

Fishery aims:
3. Assess the impacts of increasing potting density on target fishery species
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : Lyme Bay Potting Study Final Report   (2811k)
• ANX - Annex : Lyme Bay Potting Study appendices   (244k)
• TPS - Two Page Summary : MB5204 2 Page Summary   (270k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2017

Cost: £362,092
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University of Plymouth