Supporting new MPA mapping project

Supporting new MPA mapping project The mappping project data will be made available for free by Kingfisher via an interactive website and for on-board plotting systems. Photo: QB

Seafish’s Kingfisher Information Service is working with the catching sector and regulators to create the first ever comprehensive map of the UK’s marine protected area (MPA) network designed for use by fishermen.

When completed, the map will provide fishermen with consolidated data on the location of, and any fisheries management measures for, all MPAs. The data will be made available for free by Kingfisher via an interactive website and for on-board plotting systems.

A workshop held in Newcastle this week saw the Kingfisher team consult with attendees including fishermen’s bodies National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) and Scottish White Fish Producers Association (SWFPA) as well as the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), Marine Scotland, Natural Resources Wales and the Association of IFCAs.

The workshop’s aim was to establish the key functionality of the project and agree on how the data can be visualised to allow fishermen to clearly determine whether fisheries management measures will impact on fishing in any given area.

“Management of MPAs is undertaken at local, devolved, national and European levels and there are varying fishing restrictions depending on gear type, species and time of year,” said project manager Matilda Otiede.

“It can be a complicated task for fishermen to successfully navigate the UK’s MPA network so we are pleased to be working closely with our stakeholders across the sector to ensure that we can produce a genuinely useful output that will support responsible and sustainable fishing.”

Kingfisher will hold further consultations with the industry later this year and next to ensure all stakeholders have an opportunity to input to the project. The first version of the tool to use at sea is expected in late 2020.

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