A Milestone in Marine Conservation
On July 5, 2023, a momentous development occurred as the official designation of Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) took place in Allonby Bay, North East of Farnes Deep, and Dolphin Head. This landmark decision grants these areas the utmost level of protection, signifying a significant step towards safeguarding our seas.
A Momentous Development: Highly Protected Marine Areas Officially Designated on July 5, 2023, Signifying a Significant Step in Safeguarding Our Seas.
A Path to Natural Restoration
HPMAs are unique zones in the sea encompassing the shore, seabed, sea surface, and water column, where marine life is granted exceptional protection.
Consequently, the aim is to facilitate the complete recovery of marine species and their habitats, thus nurturing fish populations and revitalizing the ecosystem processes within the designated areas.
Proposed Management Measures for Recovery
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has put forth a series of targeted management measures designed to support the recuperation of HPMAs, returning them to their natural state. The primary focus of the proposed MMO bylaws is to enforce a ban on fishing activities within the HPMAs, aligning with their highly protected status.
Moreover, non-fishing activities will undergo assessment and may be subject to management in the future.
Stakeholders Invited for Input
To ensure transparency and inclusivity, the MMO has invited marine stakeholders, partner organizations, and fishers to review and offer feedback on the proposed management measures. The feedback window will be open from August 3 to September 14, 2023.
Striving for Sustainable Management
Looking ahead, the implementation of formal notifications and a notice period will precede the introduction of any fisheries management measures. These comprehensive steps are expected to be concluded by early 2024.
Perspectives from the Chair and the Marine Minister
Hilary Florek, Chair of MMO, expressed the vital role that HPMAs will play in restoring marine ecosystems along England’s coastline.
Furthermore, with these initial designations in place, the MMO commits to professionally managing various activities, encompassing marine developments, fisheries, and recreational marine endeavors.
This strict adherence ensures the high level of protection demanded by these sites. Additionally, Marine Minister Lord Benyon emphasized the significance of Highly Protected Marine Areas in preserving crucial species and habitats.
The measure also aligns with the broader mission of protecting at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030.
By implementing these management measures, we will actively support the full recovery of precious underwater environments, while simultaneously achieving key environmental goals and targets, and sustaining a responsible fishing industry.