Report of the Workshop on dealing with Natura 2000 and Related Requests (WKN2K)
Conservation objectives for species and habitat features within Natura 2000 sites must be specific, detailed and practical if associated management measures (e.g. for fisheries) are to be understood by the industry.
Coordination between Member States in the development of conservation objectives is important, especially for trans‐boundary management of the same feature (e.g. Dogger Bank). It is recommended that the biogeographic seminars, to be held by the Commission in 2008/09 to review the spatial distribution and extent of all Natura 2000 proposals, are also used to identify common conservation objectives and management approaches.
Although collaboration between states is a sensible option, it is not possible to wait for neighbouring countries before making a broader management plan. Informal links are therefore encouraged. Despite the Commissionʹs efforts to promote full establishment of the Natura 2000 network in the marine environment, the little progress in designation of marine areas by Member States so far will make it difficult to fulfill the timetable agreed with Nature Directors (marine sites will be proposed by 2008). The Commission intends to carry out a proper assessment of the proposals for SCIs made by Member States at Community level taking into account the distinctive eco‐logical conditions of the different EU major sea areas. In the meantime, if a MS requests fisheries management measures for conservation purposes for a marine site under its jurisdiction, the Commission will strive to have those measures in place un‐der the CFP in a reasonable timeframe.
It is not easy to make a practical interpretation of the ecosystem objectives of the Habitats and Birds Directives (favourable conservation status). It is also unclear how favourable conservation status should be interpreted in relation to pristine unimpacted environments. One pragmatic approach discussed at this workshop was that favourable conservation status should be compatible with sustainable development.
Use of Natura 2000 as the only measure to achieve a broad improvement in conservation status throughout regional seas will not be successful. A broader range of measures, including sector‐specific controls and technical measures, will be needed to achieve the desired outcome.
Progress made under the EMPAS project, and in recent science publications, has provided protocols for the analysis and presentation of fisheries data (including the <15 m fleet), including catch/effort data from logbooks, VMS records and fishermen’s’ knowledge. All types of data are required for effective management planning.
Access by all Member States to fisheries data (particularly satellite monitoring of lar‐ger vessels) must be guaranteed if effective management plans are to be prepared. These data should be available retrospectively as well as from 2009 as intended under the new Data Collection Regulations.
It is recommended that ICES provide a forum for coordination of conservation objectives for Natura 2000 sites, the use of fisheries data and the further development of analytical tools for application in site designation and management planning.
A comprehensive consultation process (Section 3) developed in parallel with EU guidance on establishing fisheries management measures, highlights the need for a level playing field so that all sectors are treated fairly by measures.
Sites should contain zones designated for different purposes. A feature boundary should describe the site and use physical and biological evidence to do so. A management conservation zone beyond the feature boundary should prevent adverse impacts to the site by activities adjacent to the site. An enforcement boundary beyond this management conservation zone should be designed to provide effective enforcement, based on the frequency of signals from VMS or other suitable data.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee