The report reviews potential sites within the inshore waters, out to 6 nautical miles, along the stretch of coast.
The project was funded through the Dorset and East Devon Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) and match funded by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), with support from The Fishmongers’ Company. It provides potential aquaculture businesses with locations which might be suitable for development without introducing additional pressures on other marine users.
Martin Sutcliffe, Aquaculture and Fisheries development officer for Dorset Coast Forum said, “The South Marine Plan is a great tool for sustainable development of our marine environment but, often, the scale is much too large for businesses looking to develop aquaculture sites. Cefas’ (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) spatial mapping tool really looks at the Dorset Coast in much finer detail allowing potential investors to pinpoint the best spot to develop.”
This collaborative project was developed alongside extensive marine stakeholder engagement, including commercial fishermen.
Martin added, “Dorset has one of the highest numbers of inshore commercial fishing boats anywhere in England which, along with some of the best sailing waters in the southwest, makes our inshore waters very busy. So, it was important to the development of this tool that we spoke to the people who are out there day to day earning a living or enjoying the fantastic bays and waters of the area.”
Cefas has produced an interactive map which is hosted on the Dorset and East Devon Aquaculture Hub (Aquaculture Map – Dorset Aquaculture). The map lets potential investors zoom in on specific areas and see which species are most suited to grow there. Martin said, “England’s coastline is suited to the growing of shellfish and seaweed on long lines, as shown in Lyme Bay which already has a large mussel farm offshore, producing rope grown mussels.
“The study has highlighted significant potential areas for different species and systems within the FLAG area in which aquaculture could contribute to increasing the share of ‘low-carbon’ protein from the ocean as a substitute for emission-intensive land-based animal proteins as a climate change mitigation strategy.
“Stakeholder engagement was key to developing this tool, and the mapping alongside the report will support sustainable aquaculture in Dorset.”
In the event of future planning applications, more detailed site assessment and impact assessment would need to be undertaken by the applicant.
For more information, and to leave feedback, visit: www.dorsetaquaculture.co.uk/map/
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