As many people know the Sussex IFCA in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society have been running a consultation process with stakeholders to get their views about how the Sussex IFCA should go about managing the Kingmere Marine Conservation Zone.

First a team from the MCS interviewed, on film, a whole variety of people; including trawler operators, static netsmen, potters, recreational anglers, the environment agency, charter skippers, divers and conservationists. This material was then edited into a 40 minute film.

In early October three meetings were held in venues along the coast and stakeholders were invited along. First the attendees were shown the film and then a variety of scenarios were put before the groups and these were then discussed and voted on.

In order to make the process manageable the team running the workshop provided people with 9 separate specimen scenarios for management. There were three each for 3 main sectors that fish in the zone and have an impact on the area. These sectors are towed gear, static gear and recreational angling.

Each scenario had a different level of “restriction” from total ban to light management and the idea of the session was to get a consensus between the differing stakeholders. The scenarios were not necessarily what was being recommended and certainly not set in stone but guidelines to get discussion going.

The first meeting, in Littlehampton, was not entirely satisfactory as the structure wasn’t right and there was not enough information about the scenarios but changes were made for the Shoreham and Brighton meetings.

At the end of the process a consensus does seem to have been reached and after further consultation, including a meeting we are planning to hold in Littlehampton on November 4th a decision on management measures will be made in the next few months.