Fishing banned in deep off Northumberland coast in effort to protect marine environment

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Plans, to make the water around Holy island a Highly Protected Marine Area, were scrapped after issues were raised of "high costs" to local fishers. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The Government has announced that part of the sea off the coast of Northumberland will still be included in a fishing ban.

The marine area North East of Farnes Deep will be given highly protected status. It follows the news the nearby waters around Holy Island have been dropped from plans.

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Thérèse Coffey said those original plans including Lindisfarne were scrapped after a public consultation raised issues of "high costs" to local fishers.

Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) are sections of the sea that allow the protection and full recovery of marine ecosystems.

By setting aside some areas of sea with high levels of protection, it is thought that HPMAs will allow nature to fully recover to a more natural state, allowing the ecosystem to thrive. 

Campaigners had argued that the fishing industry was at the heart of the local community. Credit: PA

In a statement today, on the UK Parliament website, Thérèse Coffey, wrote: "I am announcing my intention to designate the first Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) – North East of Farnes Deep, Allonby Bay and Dolphin Head.

"These will contribute to the government’s vision under our UK Marine Strategy for ‘clean, healthy, safe, productive, and biologically diverse ocean and seas’.

"They will increase the scope and protection of protected areas at sea and will allow sites to fully recover, increasing resilience to climate change. This forms part of our commitment to deliver 30by30 under the Global Biodiversity Framework.

"Over 900 responses to the consultation were received, and after carefully considering these and further evidence, including economic impacts, I will proceed with designating North East of Farnes Deep as set out in the consultation.

"I will not designate Lindisfarne, owing to the impacts on the local community raised during the consultation, nor Inner Silver Pit South, owing to the high costs to fishers identified during the impact analysis."

The original announcement of the HPMA plans around Holy Island had sparked controversy with campaigners who argued that the industry was at the heart of the local community.

Reverend Canon Dr Sarah Hills, the Vicar of Holy Island led the Save the Holy Island Fishermen campaign and said it was vital that the industry could continue.

He said: "The whole community thrives on fishing, it would have been absolutely desperate, it would have wrecked the place completely."

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