Research by the University of Plymouth has informed new legislation which aims to protect 117 square miles of coastal seabed and allow for the regeneration of underwater seaweed forests.
The Nearshore Trawling Byelaw, developed by the Sussex Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (IFCA), has been approved by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
It is the first fisheries byelaw to be based on an impact assessment of natural capital, and references research by the University – supported in part through the research developed for the Defra North Devon Marine Pioneer as part of the South West Partnership for Environment and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP) programme, and the evidence generated from the University’s long term Lyme Bay Marine Protected Area monitoring programme.
The new measures reflect an ecosystem approach toward fisheries management, recognising the importance of healthy marine habitats in supporting long term healthy commercial and recreational fisheries. They mean trawling is now prohibited throughout the year over large areas along the entire Sussex coast closest to the shore.