Natural England has been working in partnership with Cornwall CIFCA to implement an incidental bycatch monitoring program. The study has provided robust evidence of bycatch of both feature and non-feature species between 2013 and 2016. This work is essential and helped to define the future management of the fishery to ensure it is sustainable and causes no significant disturbance to, nor adverse effect on, the site integrity of the pSPA.
The report analyses bird bycatch from monitoring three years of net hauls in the Falmouth to St Austell pSPA. Eleven incidents of bycatch were recorded, involving 22 individual birds. 12% of the net hauls observed had some bird bycatch. Due to small sample sizes the analysis has limitations, although results suggest the following factors as potentially significant predictors of bycatch incidence: distance to coast (netting incidents <260 metres from shore); mesh size (in particular 90-99 and100-120 mm nets); water depth (shallow depths <12 metres deep) and degree of enclosure by land. Caution is necessary with the interpretation of these tests and their results, so the project report also discusses the limitations of the overall conclusions.