UK's Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says it welcomes the Government's announcement of 27 new marine conservation zones (MCZ), but see it as just a first step towards a network of marine conservation sites in England's seas.
MCS says 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. Nevertheless they believe a commitment to managing the sites properly, and to designating more sites in future, is essential to ensure that a full network is achieved.
“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 scallop 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.”