Rigid measure proves a success in conserving fish

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In 2010 one of the most scenic stretches of the Yorkshire coast was given rigid new protection.

A “no-take zone” was created off Flamborough Head, which meant that a ban was placed upon any human interference with the marine environment.

This prohibition applied from activities as apparently innocuous as moving rocks around to catching fish in the area.

The intentions was that the measure would allow slow-moving species to thrive and aid scientific study of the area, which stretches from the Bridlington edge of Danes Dyke to Sewerby Steps.

In all the area extends from the cliffs to about 700m out to sea.

Now two years after the bylaw was brought in, the site is being put forward as a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) reference area,.

If approved this designation would mean it will continue to receive the highest protection possible under Government legislation.

The North Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NEIFCA), which polices the site, has been carrying out a robust monitoring programme since 2010 to measure the attainment and success of the no-take zone.

David McCandless, the authority’s chief fishery officer, told the Yorkshire Post: “We are into our second year and we have been looking at the changes in lobster population.

“On a monthly basis between May and September we work a number of pots from Flamborough and measure the catch.

“There’s already a no-take zone at Lundy Island and very quickly they noticed the lobster becoming larger because of the protection of the designation.

“This is something we’re keen to see.”

The site was selected after a consultation process with commercial and recreational fishers and onshore businesses.

Flamborough fisherman and lifeboat crew member, Dan Major, who has been monitoring the no-take zone, told the Yorkshire Post the improving fish stocks was in the best interest of all parties concerned

He said: “Flamborough Head has been well managed for years.

“That’s why it’s a place of natural beauty.

“It was the fishermen that agreed to the zone.

“At the end of the day if the fish stocks improve, it is in our best interest.”