Marine Conservation Zones

Marine Conservation Zones

New Marine Conservation Zones proposed for English Waters – the Wyre-Lune Estuary is one of them.

The Government’s scientific advisors have provided proposals on where a final set of Marine Conservation Zones are needed around England. Leading marine conservation charities, the Marine Conservation Society and The Wildlife Trusts are excited about the plans, which are a positive step forward towards restoring our seas.

The sites are being proposed for protection by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Natural England. They would form the third and final round of Marine Conservation Zone designations around England. In the previous two tranches, only 50 protected sites have been created in English waters, falling far short of the amount of protection scientists say is needed to safeguard our seas. These new plans with approximately 50 further sites could help turn that around.

The new places being recommended for a public consultation to be run by the Government next year include South of the Isles of Scilly, which supports commercially important Monkfish; Norris to Ryde, which is rich in seagrass meadows; Mud Hole off the north-west coast – 35 metres deep and home to rare sea pens – and Compass Rose off the Yorkshire coast, which is an important spawning and nursery ground for herring and lemon sole.

Melissa Moore, Marine Conservation Society said “the 50 Marine Conservation Zones being recommended by the government’s scientific advisors are essential to ensure we are protecting examples of all habitats. They will allow a proportion of our seas to begin to recover from over a century of damage and contribute to the restoration of biodiversity in our seas. We call on Government to include all these sites in their third tranche consultation next summer.”

Joan Edwards, The Wildlife Trusts said “UK seas are home to a stunning array of wildlife, as well as playing a vital role in the planet’s life-support system. If designated as Marine Conservation Zones, these 50 new sites will help to establish a proper network of protected areas in our seas. This is a huge step towards ensuring that future generations will be able to rely on healthy and productive seas, rich in wildlife.”

The sites being recommended for designation are:
Alde Ore Estuary
Axe Estuary
Dart Estuary
East Meridian (Eastern section)
Erme Estuary
Hythe Bay
Otter Estuary
Taw Torridge Estuary
Thames Estuary
Beachy Head East (Royal Sovereign Shoals)
Camel Estuary
Cape Bank
Compass Rose
Devon Avon Estuary
Goodwin Sands
Holderness Offshore
Inner Bank
Kentish Knock East
Markham’s Triangle
Morte Platform
Mud Hole
Norris to Ryde
North-East of Haig Fras
Offshore Foreland
Orford Inshore
Selsey Bill and the Hounds
Silver Pit
Slieve Na Griddle
Solway Firth
South-West Deeps (East)
South of Celtic Deep
South of Portland
South of the Isles of Scilly
South Rigg
Studland Bay
Yarmouth to Cowes
Queenie Corner
East of Start Point MCZ Area of Search
South of Chesil Beach MCZ Area of Search
West of Copeland MCZ Area of Search
West of Lundy Area of Search
+ 3 inshore MCZ Areas of Search
+ over 10 mobile species proposed MCZs by 3rd parties

Chances of recovery for marine life in English seas boosted by creation of new Marine Conservation Zones.

UK’s leading marine charity says announcement is an encouraging step towards network of protection

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says that theannouncement by Defra that it’s designating a further 23 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in English seas, is a really positive step in achieving a genuine network of marine protection around the country’s coast.

Among the newly created MCZs are Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds – the longest chalk reef known in Europe; Farnes East – one of the deepest patches of the North Sea, reaching to between 30-100 metres in depth; Greater Haig Fras – the only substantial area of rocky reef in the Celtic Sea and Mounts Bay covering St Michael’s Mount and the Marazion area – home to important species such as seagrass, stalked jellyfish and crayfish.

The new sites bring the total number of MCZs in English sites to 50.

Although it’s still some way off the original number proposed by the Government’s scientific advisors, sea users and conservation groups five years ago, MCS says it’s pleased that the Government appears to be sticking to its commitment to develop a full network of sites, in addition to these 50, with a third and final consultation and designation process due during 2017/18.

Melissa Moore, MCS Head of Policy, says the creation of these latest MCZs marks a step forward in stemming an alarming decline in England’s rich marine biodiversity: “Stunning habitats such as the chalk reefs near Cromer and deep water rocks at Farnes East will now be better protected for future generations as will iconic species such as the ocean quahog, pink sea fan and European eel.”

MCS says designation of sites is just the first step. It’s vital that they are well managed and damaging activities are prevented.

“We’re recommending that the final tranche in 2017 includes South Celtic Deep – a site that supports short-beaked common dolphin -Norris to Ryde, which is rich in seagrass meadows, Mud Hole off the north west coast – 35 metres deep and home to rare sea pens – and Compass Rose off the Yorkshire coast, which is an important spawning and nursery ground for herring and lemon sole. Once the full network is finally designated in 2018, we look forward to English seas beginning to recover from decades of damage,” says Melissa Moore.

Birds resting on Rossall Beach

Birds on Rossall Beach

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