Treshnish Isles SAC

The Treshnish Isles Special Area of Conservation (SAC) is selected to provide protection for reefs and grey seals.The Treshnish Isles are a remote chain of uninhabited islands and skerries situated in south-west Scotland. The islands, numerous skerries, islets and reefs support a breeding colony of grey seals Halichoerus grypus, contributing just under 3% of annual UK pup production [1].

This site now has fisheries management measures in place.

Read our response to the consultation on management measures for this site here:

Save Scottish Seas campaign members have assessed the management proposals and fully support the proposed management approach (1) to prohibit the use of mobile demersal fishing gear throughout the site. We do not support approach 2; a zonal management approach for mobile demersal fishing gear is inappropriate for a site of this size and complexity of the reef features.

We agree with the management advice to remove/avoid pressure for the reefs, as any activity which has abrasive impacts or which causes an increase in suspended sediment on or near the reefs may risk the health of the bed and the biodiversity it supports. Bedrock and stony reef habitats are important seabed structures, providing a refuge and nursery grounds for juvenile fish and shellfish.
The use of static gear on and around the reefs should be monitored closely to ensure that this practice is conducted sustainably and without causing damage to the reef structure or the species which rely on it. An Appropriate Assessment should be carried out and should any evidence arise to
indicate that damage was being caused, static gear should be prohibited from this SAC.
The Treshnish Isles SAC is a relatively small area (1962 ha) and the reef structure is a complex shape.
We are concerned not only about the potential difficulty of navigating around the reef, but also the indirect effects of mobile demersal fishing, such as stirring up of sediment that may smother the reef and the epifauna that lives on it. There is also a considerable danger of scallop dredges deployed on
the neighbouring sediments running over the edges of the reef. A zonal management approach is not only inappropriate for this site, but entirely unnecessary given the extensive area of suitable fishing ground in the surrounding area.

[1] Treshnish Isles SAC site summary, JNCC

Contact the Save Scottish Seas team

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