First wave of marine protection welcome

Thursday 21st November 2013

cpt Paul Naylor marinephoto.co.ukcpt Paul Naylor marinephoto.co.uk

As the Government today confirms immediate designation of 27 Marine Conservation Zones, The Wildlife Trusts welcome this first step towards the creation of a network so absolutely vital to ensure the healthy future of our seas.

Joan Edwards, The Wildlife Trusts’ Head of Living Seas, said: 

It is vital for the appropriate management of the 27 designated sites to be implemented as soon as possible

“We welcome today’s designation of 27 Marine Conservation Zones.  This is the first active step in what we believe to be the most important action Government can take to address the shocking state of nature at sea. 

“Marine protection is an issue which matters to anyone who has ever spent happy afternoons exploring rockpools or been enchanted by chance encounters with dolphins, whales or one of the many other captivating species we enjoy in our waters. 

“There is huge public support for greater protection of our seas using Marine Protected Areas.  They are one of the best tools to protect marine wildlife effectively and restore our seas to their full potential, following decades of neglect and decline. 

“It is vital for the appropriate management of the 27 designated sites to be implemented as soon as possible.  We look forward to working with Government to ensure this happens.

“We are buoyed by the Government’s commitment to establishing future tranches of Marine Conservation Zones, demonstrating that it also remains committed to completing the ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas so desperately needed.”

Marine Conservation Zones are vital to protect and restore the marine environment and are also needed for mobile species – such as whales, dolphins, basking sharks and seabirds – in order to create a network that is truly ecologically coherent.

The designation of 27 Marine Conservation Zones.  Where they are:

  1. The Canyons
  2. South-West Deeps (West)
  3. East of Haig Fras
  4. Poole Rocks
  5. South Dorset
  6. Chesil Beach and Stennis Ledges
  7. Torbay
  8. Skerries Bank and surrounds
  9. Tamar Estuary Sites
  10. Whitsand and Looe Bay
  11. Upper Fowey and Pont Pill
  12. The Manacles
  13. Isle of Scilly Sites
  14. Padstow Bay and surrounds
  15. Lundy
  16. Fylde Offshore
  17. Cumbria Coast
  18. Aln Estuary
  19. Swallow Sand
  20. Rock Unique
  21. Blackwater, Crouch, Roach and Colne Estuaries
  22. Medway Estuary
  23. Thanet Coast
  24. Folkestone Pomerania
  25. Beachy Head West
  26. Kingmere
  27. Pagham Harbour

Notes for editors:
Marine Protected Area (MPA): is a general term to describe an area of the sea or coast where management measures are put in place to protect habitats and wildlife. 

Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ): is a new type of MPA designation created by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.  MCZs can be designated anywhere in English and Welsh inshore and offshore waters.

A two and half year public consultation process involving one million stakeholders recommended the establishment of 127 Marine Conservation Zones in English seas across England.

In June more than 350,000 pledges were presented to Downing Street calling for an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas.  These pledges were often signed in creative ways, at aquaria and seaside events where people made sand and willow sculptures or created silver-scaled marine creatures.  This action came in the wake of the State of Nature report put together by scientists working side-by-side with 25 wildlife organisations.  They compiled a stock-take of our native species – the first of its kind in the UK – and revealed that 60% of all terrestrial and marine animal and plant species studied have declined in the past 50 years, with seabirds, harbour seals, sharks, skates, rays suffering particular declines, along with large-scale damage to sub-tidal habitats.  Protected areas for marine wildlife are a key tool to help reverse this trend and thus meet our international biodiversity targets.

Tagged with: Living Seas, Marine, MCZs