MCS has welcomed yesterday’s announcement by Government of 27 Marine Conservation Zones as a significant milestone for marine conservation in English seas. But says a commitment to managing the sites properly, and to designating more sites in future, is essential to ensure that a full network is achieved.
“This announcement is a significant step towards stemming the alarming decline in our rich marine biodiversity, ensuring iconic species such as the seahorse, black bream and native oyster, and stunning habitats in places such as Chesil Beach and the Skerries Banks, may be better protected for future generations,” announced mcsuk.org.
“We’re also pleased to see that the Government has listened to concerns about when more designations will be planned, with consultation on future zones timetabled in 2015/16 and 2016/17.”
MCS will be looking for clarity on the management for these sites, as the Governments commitment to protect marine wildlife will only be delivered if effective measures are put in place to look after them.
“The MCZs will be multi-use, so low-impact fishing such as potting will be permitted in most sites. However, effective regulatory measures may need to be established to protect vulnerable sites from damaging activities such as dredging and bottom trawling.” Melissa Moore says. “It is vital that within these sites there is a clear notion of what can and can’t happen, and who is responsible for policing those activities, otherwise we’re just creating paper parks.”
The 2013 study ‘A report on the value of Marine Protected Areas in the UK to divers and anglers’ published by the Marine Conservation Society and various partners, shows the value of marine conservation zones far outweighing the costs of designating and managing them.
Press Release, November 22, 2013