The British government claims that its new post-Brexit powers have enabled it to close new areas to fishing activities.
The Marine Management Organisation has confirmed the implementation of byelaws to relating to four offshore areas as part of ambitious government plans.
These new byelaws will come into force on 13th June this year and are introduced using powers under the Fisheries Act.
The four byelaws ban the use of bottom trawls, dredges, demersal seines and semi-pelagic trawls over certain areas. There are also additional restrictions in two of the sites preventing the use of certain static gears such as pots, nets or lines over especially sensitive areas.
The areas in question are the Dogger Bank Special Area of Conservation, Inner Dowsing, Race Bank and North Ridge Special Area of Conservation, the South Dorset Marine Conservation Zone and the Canyons Marine Conservation Zone.
‘We will be stopping trawling and dredging in these Marine Protected Areas to protect wildlife and habitats, through powers we have in our Fisheries Act 2020,’ said Environment Secretary, George Eustice.
The Dogger Bank Special Area of Conservation has the largest shallow sandbank in British waters and supports commercial fish species such as cod and plaice, as well as sand eels. The Canyons Marine Conservation Zone protects rare and highly sensitive deep water corals.
‘Many of our inshore marine protected areas are already protected through MMO and Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority byelaws,’ said MMO CEO Tom McCormack.
‘These new byelaws represent the next step in our nature recovery journey.’