Marine Conservation Zones
Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are a new type of Marine Protected Area designation, arising from the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.
Recommendations for a network of 127 MCZs in all English seas and offshore Welsh waters were published by Defra in September 2011. These areas had been recommended through a stakeholder led process which included representatives from all marine sectors - from fishermen and the aggregates industry to divers and boat-users. The process enabled everyone to have their say over where MCZs should be located and was based on the best available evidence.
The Wildlife Trusts keenly contributed to this process and it is our view that these Marine Conservation Zones, when combined in a network with European Marine Sites and protected sites from the other devolved countries, would provide effective and meaningful protection for our marine environment.
Recently, we were disappointed to learn that the Government plans to take a phased approach to these areas, choosing to consult the public on the potential designation of only 31 of the 127 on the stakeholders’ list in 2013. Others zones may be created in the future but at present, there is no definitive timetable for this.
The map above shows the recent Government proposals for the 127 recommended Marine Conservation Zones. The green sites are the MCZs that the Government have proposed to designate in 2013. Amber sites are the MCZs that are on hold at the moment and the red site are the MCZs that the Government are proposing are removed from the network.
The Government recently consulted on these proposals- thank you to all who had their say. The Government are now considering the responses to this consultation and will publish their response in the next few months. Keep your eye on these pages to find out the next steps for MCZs.
Now is the most important time for UK marine conservation. We have never before, and may never again have such an opportunity to safeguard the remnants of our, once rich, marine habitats and wildlife. Why not stay in touch with the campaign and find out how you can help in the future by becoming a Friend of the MCZs?
Our marine environment desperately needs help - we need a proper network of protected areas to ensure that the extraordinary diversity of species and habitats in our seas get real protection for the first time. There is huge public support for this protection. Our Petition Fish campaign, calling for greater marine protection across the UK, gathered nearly 250,000 signatures. It was presented to the Government at the end of January 2012.
Find out more about the wonderful underwater landscapes that a million stakeholders recommended for protection and why we think all 127 of these places are important by taking a look at our MCZ map and signing up to a zone near you!
Experience from across the world has shown that Marine Protected Areas provide economic and social benefits that far outweigh the costs of designation and management.
We are concerned that Defra’s own impact assessment for the Marine Conservation Zones failed to provide any monetary benefits for the designation of individual sites or for the network as a whole. An analysis of the initial Impact Assessment was carried out by Hull University and can be viewed below
To showcase the potential benefits from the proposed network of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in English and offshore Welsh waters, The Wildlife Trusts commissioned a report from The Centre for Marine and Coastal Policy Research at Plymouth University.
The report analysed the provision of ecosystem services and processes across the entire recommended MCZ network of 127 sites and carried out more detailed analysis of four recommended MCZs (North of Celtic Deep, Holderness Inshore, Kingmere and Torbay). You can see the full report below and if you head to each of the four rMCZ webpages, you can see the more detailed case studies there.
|Securing the benefits of MCZs.pdf||2.39 MB|
|Summary of MCZ Impact Assessment Material Review- Hull University.pdf||173.94 KB|