The Swedish government commits to reaching the target of an ecologically representative, coherent and well-managed network of MPAs by 2020. The commitment contributes to achieving the SDG targets 14.2 and 14.5, the Aichitarget 11 on protected areas and fulfilling EU environmental legislation goals. Relevant conservation measures regulating fisheries contribute to achieving conservation objectives for each MPA, as well as the functionality of the MPA network.
Conservation measures will be based on scientific evidence and fisheries regulations are designed as far as possible in consultation with researchers, the fishery sector and civil society. A variety of regulations may be relevant, such as no-take zones, restrictions and/or prohibitions against the use of certain gears and fishing methods.
Conservation measures regulating fisheries need to be complemented with regulations for other activities and sectors to ensure adequate protection.
Current work is progressing according the national plan "Measures to achieve conservation objectives in MPAs with focus on fisheries" from 2014. A joint recommendation to the EU Commission to introduce fisheries regulations in the Natura 2000 sites, including Ospar MPA, Bratten in the Swedish EEZ, was made autumn 2016 and entered into force January 2017. Work is in progress with five more MPAs with measures falling under the EU Common Fisheries Policy on the West Coast of Sweden. The Government intends to initiate conservation measures and provide relevant information to other concerned EU Member States with the aim of submitting a joint recommendation with proposed conservation measures to the EU commission. Since 2014, additional MPAs have been established, and in June 2016, the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) on behalf of the government, presented a National Action Plan for MPAs.
The Swedish government therefore intends to give a new assignment to SwAM and other relevant authorities in 2017. The authorities shall:
- Identify and ensure that measures are taken to achieve conservation objectives in MPAs, both new ones and where necessary in earlier established MPAs, especially regarding harmful fishing practices in relation to the conservation objectives in these areas. A timetable shall be included.
- Evaluate and compile existing knowledge regarding ongoing trawling on biotic and abiotic environmental impacts, primarily within MPAs, and within the national trawl boundary, and if necessary propose measures.
- Review and modernize the coastal fisheries legislation with a view to safeguarding Swedish coastal fisheries by contributing to the goal of the Swedish Maritime Strategy "Competitive, innovative and sustainable marine industries that can contribute to increased employment, reduced environmental impact and an attractive living environment".
The authorities shall identify areas that may constitute MPAs with strong protection without a local human impact. The identification is a first step in mapping such areas and will focus, i.a., on areas that may be suitable as fisheries no-take zones. Such areas could be located within established MPAs that are given a stronger protection or be new MPAs with the purpose to strengthening the representative protection and function as future reference areas. A proposal for the continued process shall be included.
Proposal to the EU Commission to introduce fisheries regulations in the Bratten MPA in the Swedish EEZ, was made autumn 2016 and entered into force
Assignment to identify further measures aimed at reaching conservation objectives in MPAs focusing on fisheries and investigating the impact of bottom trawling primarily in MPAs and within the trawl boundary, and, if necessary, propose measures. Decisions are taken in autumn 2017 with delivery March 2018
Proposals for necessary fisheries regulations to the EU Commission in five MPAs in the Kattegat with planned entry into force in 2018