Battle to protect wildlife at sea receives boost today

Common Dolphin, Isles of Scilly (c) Joseph Pender - NOT FOR WIDER USE

The Wildlife Trusts welcome possibility of 41 new Marine Conservation Zones

Today the government has launched a consultation asking the public for their views about protecting a new group of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) – areas at sea where wildlife is protected from damaging activities. 41 special places have been chosen for the public to comment on; these range from seagrass beds in Studland Bay to deep, rich mud habitats in the Irish Sea.

Joan Edwards, Director of Living Seas at The Wildlife Trusts says:

“We’ve been calling for the government to give real protection to a connected network of diverse sea-bed habitats since 2009. Only 50 have been designated so far and this new consultation on 41 special places is really good news. We need  to restore the sea-bed that has been ravaged over the past century and allow fragile marine life to recover – and this can only be done with good management. Without these astonishing submerged landscapes there simply wouldn't be any fish, let alone fantastic jewel anemones, seahorses, and all the other wild and extraordinary creatures which are part of a healthy marine ecosystem.”

“Forty-one potential new protected areas represent a great leap forward but we are disappointed that a number of sites have been left out of this process, particularly mud habitats in the Irish Sea and English Channel"
Joan Edwards, Director of Living Seas
The Wildlife Trusts

The Wildlife Trusts believe that the consultation is a big step in the right direction for England’s seas.  Proper protection of these sites after designation will mean that our seas will be given the opportunity to recover. However, there is disappointment that several vital areas of deep mud - home to ocean quahog and sea pens in the Irish Sea and English Channel - are missing from the consultation.

Joan Edwards continues:

“Forty-one potential new protected areas represent a great leap forward but we are disappointed that a number of sites have been left out of this process, particularly mud habitats in the Irish Sea and English Channel. Although these habitats can appear featureless, mud is a diverse and wildlife-rich habitat and we think it’s important that these areas are protected too.”

The Wildlife Trusts are calling on the public to back the 41 potential Marine Conservation Zones in the consultation – details of how to do this will be added to our MCZ page here. The consultation closes on Friday 20th July 2018.