Portelet fishing ban imminent

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In November 2018, the Marine Resources Panel agreed with proposals from the Société Jersiaise marine biology section to change the bay’s designation.

Following discussions with UK regions with NTZs, of which there are only three, Marine Resources are preparing the draft regulations and the associated supporting documentation. The move into law drafting is planned for early 2020.

Government of Jersey marine and coastal manager Paul Chambers said: ‘To be effective, a NTZ will require the prohibition on all fishing activity within the inner part of Portelet Bay.

‘This would include commercial activities, such as potting and netting, and recreational ones, such as angling and low-water fishing.

‘The area covered by the zone has been carefully constructed to exclude the headlands at the edge of the bay, as these are often used by anglers.

‘In practice, this means that all fishing activities within the central part of the bay will be prohibited. This will be managed in the same way as other fisheries regulations.’

The creation of the no-take zone will now require law drafting, consultation and approval from the States, and if everything progresses smoothly it should come into effect during 2020.

‘In terms of sea area, this will exclude fishing activity from 0.0001% of Jersey’s waters and the proposals have received approval from commercial and recreational representatives on the Marine Resources Panel,’ added Mr Chambers. ‘On the scientific side, the NTZ creates an opportunity for local marine groups to monitor any changes over time within Portelet Bay.

‘This will be achieved through the creation of projects of differing complexity, which, it is hoped that individuals or groups will participate on a regular or casual basis.’

The only other no-take zones in the British Isles are at Lundy Island in Devon, Flamborough Head in Yorkshire and the Isle of Arran in Scotland.

Before it was decided to create the no-take zone at Portelet, other areas had to be considered including Beauport, Bonne Nuit, Archirondel, Anne Port, Plémont and Bouley Bay. However, those sites
were not considered suitable.

Mr Chambers added: ‘By prohibiting all fishing, NTZs offer the additional prospect of restoring all marine habitats and species populations to their natural, undisturbed predisposition.

‘As well as spill-over and other benefits, this allows scientists and fisheries managers to monitor and study complex ecosystems and species’ populations in their unexploited

‘For example, at each of the UK NTZs key species and structurally complex habitats were found to
occur in higher densities and at a significantly larger size compared to control areas.

‘These unexploited areas can also assist in evaluating the underlying effects of broader environmental changes such as global warming.’

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