The Crown Estate has helped the UK fishing and marine renewables industries to overcome mutual distrust, working in partnership to map fishing activity and share data which benefits both industries.
- A comprehensive evidence base of data used to support planning discussions between marine renewables developments and affected fishing interests, with better understanding between the industries.
- An agreement to undertake sea-trials of adapted fishing equipment, and the establishment of a community fund (worth £300,000) to support fishing communities affected by offshore wind developments in the eastern Irish Sea.
- The data quality collected has influenced the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to commit resources to investigating the use of the data to define core fishing grounds in support of marine planning activity.
- Mapping fishing activity helps the fishing industry to engage more effectively, highlighting clearly defined seabed areas which have social, environmental and economic significance.
- Marine renewable developers recognise the benefits of working alongside the fishing industry, avoiding conflicts and lowering the risk that project consent will not be granted.
- The unrivalled accuracy of the spatial data strengthens links between industry, scientists, marine renewable energy sector and other relevant stakeholders.
“ The Crown Estate is proud to have facilitated the UKFIM project, an innovative international first and a great example of partnership with the community working at its best. “The results show the impact of improved relationships between industries in the marine offshore environment and how a foundation of mutual trust and respect can be established between two potentially conflicting sectors. Critically, the project will help encourage future sustainable growth of both the renewable energy and fishing industries for the benefit of UK plc. ”
Before the project, the relationship between the two industries was one of mutual suspicion. The Crown Estate used its influence to encourage dialogue and build trust. It took a partnership approach, involving all the stakeholders, to map of all types of UK fishing waters activity.
The data was gathered from individual vessels across a complex mix of fisheries throughout the UK. The outcome was accurate, high resolution data showing the spatial extent of fishing activity in UK waters – providing much clearer picture than any previous data.
The data has been used to inform discussions and agreements which minimise impacts of offshore renewable energy developments upon existing fishing activity. In addition, it helps marine developers plan for the design and installation of projects to reduce the risk of damage from fishing equipment.
Spin-off benefits include agreements to undertake sea-trials of adapted fishing equipment, supporting a positive working relationship with developers in the Eastern Irish Sea. This has established a £300,000 community fund supporting fishing communities.