The North Sea Wildlife Trust welcomes the 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 mosaics of gravelly seabed home to fish, crabs and lobsters in the North Sea to seagrass beds in Studland Bay on the south coast.
Bex Lynam, North Sea Marine Advocacy Officer 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.”
The North Sea Wildlife Trust believes 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 areas in the North Sea such as Alde Ore Estuary off the Suffolk coast, an important area for smelt, and Silver Pit, a spawning area for many fish off the Lincolnshire coast, are missing from the consultation.
Bex Lynam 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 – Keep an eye on our website to find out how to do this soon! The consultation closes on Friday 20th July 2018.
To find out more about Marine Conservation Zones click here.