Marine protected areas (MPAs) and fishing restriction mapping project

MPAs cover almost a quarter of UK waters with a diverse range of conservation goals, including protecting fish, seabirds and habitats.

Fishing regulations in MPAs also differ greatly, and no single source of information for such restrictions currently exists.

Kingfisher Information Services is currently working on a project which will provide consolidated and simplified data on the UK’s MPA network and the prohibited and permissible fishing operations in each area. This will be delivered in formats which assist commercial fishers:

  • A user-friendly website with simple interactive maps showing all fishing restrictions and MPAs within UK territorial waters
  • Fishing plotter files, allowing fishers to import and view positional data and information regarding fishing restrictions

These resources – which will be made available to fishers free of charge via Kingfisher Information Services - will help to increase compliance with regulations, promote environmental protection and support responsible, sustainable fishing.

The document below provides an overview of the project including background, objectives, deliverables and timescales. 

What fishing restrictions exist in MPAs?

Not all MPAs have fishing restrictions. Where they do exist they may apply only to:

  • Specified areas within an MPA
  • Certain sizes of vessels
  • Certain times of the year
  • Certain fishing gear types

For example, demersal fishing or scallop dredging may be prohibited in an MPA in which static gear fishing is allowed.

Who manages MPAs?

Management measures within MPAs depends on their location and number of nautical miles (nm) from the coast:

  • England: IFCAs (0-6nm) and Marine Management Organisation (6-200nm)
  • Scotland: Marine Scotland
  • Wales: Welsh Government
  • Northern Ireland: DAERA
  • Isle of Man: Isle of Man Government


For more information email Kingfisher or call 01472 252 307.