Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Protection for Coastal Areas Given a Boost; Environment Editor TONY HENDERSON on the Concerted Push to Protect Our Local Sea and Shoreline

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Protection for Coastal Areas Given a Boost; Environment Editor TONY HENDERSON on the Concerted Push to Protect Our Local Sea and Shoreline

Article excerpt

WHEN a committee was set up in 1890 to oversee inshore fishing off Northumberland, the abundant shoals of herring were the basis of a major industry.

How times changed was underlined by the collapse of stocks of once-common fish such as herring and cod.

That led to a new outlook on the vulnerability of the sea around our shores and also of the coastline itself and how to balance the demands on the marine environment of everyone from fishermen and conservationists to aggregates extraction, leisure and tourism and now offshore wind farms.

A year ago the Marine Management Organisation was launched, with its national headquarters in Newcastle with wide planning, licensing and enforcement powers and the brief to manage the UK seas.

Now the MMO has been joined by a new body, the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (Nifca).

It replaces the Northumberland Sea Fisheries Committee, which was established in 1890.

Nifca, based in Cramlington in Northumberland, has a wider environmental remit than the committee it replaces, and is responsible for an area from the shoreline to six miles out, and along river estuaries to the high tide mark.

The new Northumberland body is one of 10 IFCAs around the English coast.

Tasked with the sustainable management of inshore sea fisheries resources in their local area, they are made up of representatives from local authorities and members knowledgeable about the inshore marine area, such as commercial and recreational fishermen, environmental groups and marine researchers.

The MMO, Environment Agency and Natural England also each have a statutory seat.

Through their local emphasis, the aim is for IFCAs to help put local authorities, local communities, local businesses and individuals in the driving seat, allowing them to play a bigger part in the protection and enhancement of their inshore marine environment. …

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