|Crunch Time For Kingmere As Consultation Opens On Management Measures For Bream Fishing In New Sussex MCZ
Sea anglers are being invited to comment on a new bylaw introducing management measures for fishing activities – including recreational angling for black bream – within the new Kingmere Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ).
The Sussex IFCA has drafted the bylaw for all Marine Protected Areas within the authority’s district. Included within this there will be a regulatory notice to ensure that fishing activities meet Natural England’s* conservation advice for the MCZ which was designated, in part, to recover the status of nesting black bream in the UK’s most important known nesting site for the species.
The Kingmere reef is a renowned recreational fishery for the wide variety of fish species that it supports – in particular black bream which build nests and lay their eggs in the specific seabed habitat in and around the reef.
The bylaw and regulatory notice for the Kingmere MCZ will still allow access to fishing. However, management measures to limit the impact of recreational angling on the nesting population of black bream within the MCZ will include a bag limit, closed areas and closed seasons for bream fishing.
Restrictions on all other activities, including commercial fishing, that threaten or damage the conservation features of the site have been included in the management measures. A delicate balance has been sought by the IFCA in an attempt to get buy-in from all stakeholders who use the Kingmere – while still satisfying the conservation objectives for which the MCZ was designated.
Anglers travel from all around the country to fish on the Kingmere from private boats and from the vibrant charter boat fleets in Brighton, Littlehampton and Shoreham By Sea. The proposed management measures are likely to have a significant impact on how, when and where recreational fishing for black bream takes place.
The Angling Trust has been involved from the start of the process to ensure that recreational angling is not disproportionately impacted by restrictions. We will be submitting our comments on the proposals to both the Marine Management Organisation and the Sussex IFCA in the coming days. Once submitted our response will be publically available from the Angling Trust website HERE including details on our position taken over the bylaw and impact on recreational anglers.
David Mitchell, the Angling Trust’s Marine Campaigns Manager, said: “A lot of work has gone into consulting local sea anglers in Sussex and making sure that they, and the thousands of anglers who travel to Sussex to fish the Kingmere each year, aren’t disproportionately affected by the proposed bylaw. We will be making our objections to some of the proposals as clearly and strongly as possible. However, where we feel that we can support the proposals we will.”
Tim Macpherson, Director of the Angling Trust and Chairman of the Angling Trust Sussex Marine Region, said: “The consultation process for this MCZ designation has taken time and involved a lot of stakeholders including commercial fishing, wildlife groups and anglers.
The Angling Trust in Sussex has been closely involved representing angling interests to the Sussex IFCA and we are pleased that anglers will continue to be allowed to fish on the Kingmere reef during the breeding season. This access is vital in maintaining the economic viability of the charter fleets and ensuring access for anglers is not being unnecessarily restricted.
We recognise the importance of the conservation objectives set out in the designation. However, there are areas of the regulatory notice which I personally have serious concerns about. However, I want to make clear that I recognise the efforts the officers on the IFCA have put in to getting what they believe is a balanced outcome.
The Angling Trust will submit a formal response to the bylaw shortly but it is also up to individual anglers and angling groups to make their representations directly – bearing in mind that the original advice was to close the area to all activity.”
Consultation on the bylaw is open until October 7th so anglers wishing to make their voices heard should make sure they respond before then.
For more information on the bylaw and how to comment click HERE
For more information on the Angling Trust Sussex Marine Region’s work leading up to this click HERE
*Natural England is a statutory nature conservation body and provides the government with conservation advice on the protection of the marine environment.