Earlier this year at a meeting with the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) at their, Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), it was decided to approve the advancement of the W2R application for £19,500.00 to purchase 12,000 juvenile lobsters from the National Lobster Hatchery to seed our purpose built reef.
In addition to this, it was agreed to include a lobster tagging trial by National Oceanography Centre (NOC) to be run in parallel with the re-stocking. Both N.O.C and W2R were asked to produce further information prior to the full IFCA meeting in March when a funding decision will be made.
The funding bid was heard by the full committee on the 6th of June and the outcome was a mixed bag. The W2R bid for £19,500 for 12,000 lobsters was rejected but the lobster tagging trial bid which came out at £17,300, was successful.
The trial consists of the introduction of 1,000 juvenile lobsters per year for three years on to a portion of the restocking reef. The lobsters will be tagged with fluorescent elastomer tag material placed under the ‘skin’ of the lobster tail. This will allow the individual lobsters to be identified in years to come. Fishermen local to Weymouth and Portland and a Portland fish merchant have agreed to voluntarily carry scanners in the coming years in order to help monitor lobster recapture/survival rates.
It is accepted that the opportunity of exploring stock enhancement via an artificial reef in a quantified fashion is unique in a European context. This will allow the Southern IFCA to assess the value of restocking as an integrated management tool which could in turn be rolled-out across the country.
A bid for over £2million has been submitted to the Coastal Communities Fund to purchase and environmentally prepare a decommissioned warship for scuttling as an artificial reef. W2R has partnered with the local Borough Councils, the local Community Partnerships and Jobcentre Plus and the Borough Economic Development Team has kindly written the bid for us. We will be informed if this first round application is successful during duly.
Navigational Risk Assessment
A condition of the W2R Marine Management Organisation (MMO) Marine Licence is that a Navigational Risk Assessment (NRA) is carried out. The Portland Port Authority very kindly offered their assistance in producing the NRA and agreement was reached between the sailing community, the fishing community, the diving community and the Port Authority prior to its completion and submission to the MMO.