The Assessment of Fishing Closure Areas as Sites for marine management in the Falkland Islands (AFCAS)
The first work package of the MSP II project looked to create a tangible output that demonstrated the benefits of the MSP tools developed through the first MSP project to local government, through a case study. This case study looked at assessing current fishing closure areas to see whether they could be considered as sites for wider marine management, known as AFCAS.
Looking out from Kidney Island, a national nature reserve and breeding site for up to 100,000 pairs of Sooty Shearwaters, as well as Southern Rockhopper and Magellanic penguins © Neil Golding, 2017
With the UK ratifying the Convention of Biological Diversity, and being extended to the Falklands in the summer of 2016, Falkland Islands Government (FIG) recognised the need to protect at least 10% of the Falklands coastal and marine area, in order to meet its Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The AFCAS case-study, which assessed these fishing closure areas against international (IUCN) protected area criteria, demonstrated that with some small changes, such as specifically stating nature conservation objectives, FIG could use pre-existing permanent and temporary closures as sites for wider marine management, whilst also meeting some of its international protected area Aichi Targets.
The findings from the AFCAS case study were captured in a report. The report outlined potential Marine Management Areas (MMAs) that could be developed from existing fishing closures, as well as ideas on how these could be managed into the future. Some aspects contained within the AFCAS report had been discussed previously with stakeholders while other ideas hadn’t. Following sign-off of the pre-consultation version by the project Steering Committee, and discussion with the project Stakeholder Group, the AFCAS public consultation was launched on Wednesday 15th March 2017, and ran for nearly eight weeks, until Friday 5th May.
Young Gentoo penguins, near Boat Point, East Falkland. © Neil Golding, 2017
Following the public consultation, a post-consultation stakeholder workshop was held, partly to feed back the initial outcomes of the consultation to the MSP Stakeholder Group, but also to allow stakeholders to work through and identify what the next steps in the AFCAS case-study process may be. The report from the post-consultation stakeholder workshop will be available in due course. A formal consultation report is also in the process of being drafted, and will be posted here once it is published.