Support Holy Island Fishing
And its future


The Consultation period called by DEFRA to consider the proposed Lindisfarne Highly Protected Marine Area closed on September 28th.

Holy Island Parish Council, The Holy Island of Lindisfarne Development Trust, St Mary’s Church and Holy Island 2050 all made detailed submissions to Defra in addition to taking part in the on-line survey.

We will be continuing our campaign on behalf of our fishermen over the coming weeks with direct lobbying of Government Ministers and advisers but in the meantime if anyone would like copies of the Submission Documents, we are happy to share them, preferably by email to reduce our costs, but printed copies are also available for those who require them.

For email copies contact John Bevan on
For printed copies please leave your name and address at the Post Office.

Proposed legislation by Defra will ban fishing in the waters around Holy Island

The future of the Holy Island fishing industry, central to the island’s economy and community, is under immediate threat.

This follows selection of the waters around the island by DEFRA (the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) as a designated zone for a Highly Protected Marine Area (HPMA) which would mean a complete ban of all fishing.

The fishermen and community of Holy Island strongly oppose this proposed selection because we believe it is misguided and unfair, even based on the criteria Defra have set themselves: to minimise social and economic impacts while maximising ecological gains.

High uncertainty if there would be any substantial ecological gains

The fishing ban would have major economic and social impacts on Holy Island

The Holy Island fishery is already an exemplar of sustainable fishing with a clear priority on conservation

The fishery is the heart of the island and has been central to Holy Island's economy and culture for hundreds, if not thousands, of years

Low impact potting for crab and lobster in small boats is the only commercial fishing activity remaining in the proposed HMPA waters

Fishing families make up 15% of the island resident population and also populate the island's primary school

Academic research supports the low impact of potting fisheries on marine habitat

The fishery is the heart of the island and has been central to Holy Island's economy and culture for hundreds, if not thousands, of years

Multiple layers of conservation byelaws are already in place in the proposed areas agreed between the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Society (IFCA) and the fishing community

Holy Island fishery is particularly vulnerable because fishermen cannot move to nearby fishing grounds beyond the proposed HPMA as these are already fully utilised by other boats harboured at Seahouses and Berwick

Lack of data to evidence or justify the proposal of Lindisfarne (Holy Island) as an HPMA

Relocating a boat without physically moving home is also not possible because the island is cut off from the mainland twice a day by the tides.

The benefits of sustainable fishing and effective conservation measures are already being experienced first-hand.

The large size of the proposed Holy Island/Lindisfarne HPMA (129km2 ) exacerbates the significant social and economic impact beyond the island itself

How to support our community

There is a 12 week consultation period on this legislation which ends on 28th September. The fishermen and the organisations representing the island community (Parish Council, Community Development Trust and St Mary's Church) are taking an active part in the consultative process which ends on the 28th September.

Complete Defra's consultation form (for those living on the island or are connected to it): Consultation Form

Respond to our local MP's survey about Holy Island fishing and the proposed HPMA. Respond to our MP

If you would like more information about how to actively support: Sarah Hills or John Bevan

Media Coverage: The Guardian Report The Sunday Telegraph Report

Holy Island Press Statement: Our Statement