Last Wednesday on 13 June, local MP Amber Rudd spoke to Minister David Rutley about consultation on the third tranche of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ). In the meeting with Amber, Minister Rutley assured Amber that the proposed Rye Bay MCZ would not be included in the list of zones for consultation and an MCZ would not be set up there.

Mr Alex Stanmore, Chairman of the Harbour of Rye Advisory Committee (HoRAC) said:

“The Harbour of Rye Advisory Committee (HoRAC) warmly welcomes the Minister’s decision that Rye Bay will not be included in the final list of Marine Conservation Zones to be consulted upon. This decision is of enormous significance to both the East Sussex economy and local employment, the safeguarding of which has been of the highest priority of HoRAC for the last three years. This decision will also be a huge relief to the 32 vessels that make up the Rye Bay fishing fleet, their crews and families and the businesses they support that can now plan and invest for the future with confidence. 

Mr Stanmore added: “The Harbour of Rye advisory Committee wishes to pay tribute to the professionalism of everyone they have dealt with and in particular to Amber Rudd MP who has freely given her valuable time and unswerving support since October 2015 to ensure the economic impact case was properly prepared and presented. HoRAC and the Rye fishermen’s representatives wish to put on record our sincere gratitude to Amber for her invaluable contribution.”

Amber also learned that the Hastings to Beachy Head proposed MCZ would go ahead for consultation. Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society are supportive of the MCZ, but only after adequate consultation. The consultation is open until 20 July and can be accessed here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/marine/consultation-on-the-third-tranche-of-marine-conser/

Paul Joy, a local fisherman said:

“Although we are broadly supportive of the MCZ, it must be clear that caveats need to include sustainable otter trawling and proven non-detrimental fishing methods such as static nets, pots, and traps. This needs to be clearly defined when drawing up MCZ’s in our region.”

Interim Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment, Mr David Rutley MP said:

“Our Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are carefully selected to protect our precious sea life while ensuring our fishing communities remain sustainable in the long-term.

“The decision not to put forward Rye Harbour was made after listening thoroughly to all groups affected and representations from local MP Amber Rudd – taking on board the best available scientific evidence and the views of the local fishing community.”

Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye said:

“I am delighted with the announcement that Rye will not be included in the third tranche of MCZ consultations following the concerns I raised to Government after meeting local fishermen. I am pleased I was approached by the Harbour of Rye Advisory Committee at an early stage and was able to represent their concerns to Ministers in Parliament. We have reached a win-win situation for our fishermen with both the Harbour of Rye Advisory Committee and Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society pleased with this announcement, subject to changes in the consultation.

Amber added “I urge all fishermen affected by the proposed MCZ from Hastings to Beachy Head to take part in the consultation which ends 20 July. It is vital the interests of our local fishermen are heard and included with the implementation of a Marine Conservation Zone. I have some serious concerns regarding the current proposal and am determined to ensure that changes are made to protect our existing valuable fishing industry.”


---Notes to the editor---

  • Amber is pictured with Minister David Rutley MP following their discussion on the consultation of Marine Conservation Zones.